EXPLAINING HOW TO SPOT A FAKE XIAOMI M365
Written by Ed Wiles, Scootered Founder
The Xiaomi M365 first came to widespread prominence in Europe and North America in 2018 when scooter hire companies Bird and Lime put them on the streets of various cities. This had the (perhaps not completely unforeseeable) effect of creating a surge in retail demand, which led to a global shortage as Xiaomi struggled to keep up with demand. Incidentally, both Lime and Bird have moved to the Ninebot-Segway ES2 as a more attainable alternative to the M365. In turn, the global shortage in M365s produced a growth in the fake market, with copies being made by the unscrupulous manufacturers that run unchecked in Eastern China.
While in the early stages of researching where we could source our Xiaomi M365 scooters, we very nearly fell into the trap of buying fake scooters from one of these Chinese companies, which advertised their scooters as "original Xiaomi M365" electric scooters. As crazy as it seems that a company can get away with such flagrant disregard for honesty, trademarks and copyright, this is the world we live in and - as the Romans coined the phrase "caveat emptor" some years ago - perhaps the world we have always lived in. To make matters worse, such companies often use images from Xiaomi's own marketing on their sales pages.
Spot The Difference
So I write this article to help you avoid buying a fake Xiaomi M365. Perhaps the first thing I should say is that, if a price seems too good to be true, it probably is. The profit margins in selling these scooters are small, so if a company were selling a real Xiaomi M365 for under £330, they would likely be making a loss on it. However, it can be very hard to tell a fake M365 from a real M365 by looking at it. Indeed, the companies producing the fakes go to great lengths to make their products look real. Often, a fake will be missing the Xiaomi serial number, which is one possible way to spot a fake. However, this requires taking a close look at the scooter in person and a fake Xiaomi serial number could be put on a fake scooter. The image below shows the location/format of M365 serial number.
Some people believe that the box their scooter arrives in will tell them if their Xiaomi scooter is real or not, and this is true to a certain extent. Most fake scooters will come in a box that just reads "ELECTRIC SCOOTER" with no other information, whereas the authentic box (an example from the M365 is seen below) has more detail, including the hazmat warning sign (for the battery). However, it is reasonably easy to create a box that looks authentic and there are reports of fake scooters being placed in authentic packaging in China.
The innards (battery, motherboard etc) of a fake will be different but you are unlikely to see the innards of the scooter before purchase (if ever). However, we discovered that there is one simple question you can ask to weed out the fakes from real Xiaomi scooters before purchase, and that question is "What app works this scooter?". If the scooter does not work with the official Xiaomi Home app, then it is a fake. More often than not, the app the fake scooters use is the MiniRobot, a generic scooter app. Thus, should you come across a Xiaomi for sale - and why would you not buy from us? - at a suspiciously low price, be sure to ask about the app.
Mi Home App vs MiniRobot App
A fake scooter may work reasonably well but it is unlikely to have been built to the same standards as a real Xiaomi M365. Added to this, Li-ion batteries can be dangerous and you would not want to be riding or charging a scooter with a possibly unsafe battery component. Xiaomi, on the other hand, is a reputable company that has recalled scooters when a safety issue has been discovered.
YOU CAN BUY THE XIAOMI M635 HERE
I hope this article proves useful for those seeking to buy an authentic Xiaomi M365 electric scooter. If you have any questions please feel free to email me. It would be unusual for a UK registered company to sell fake scooters as it is relatively easy to take court action against a company in Britain. However, outside of the UK/EU, and especially via China, the risk of buying a fake increases. Beyond the risk of buying a fake, it is also advisable to consider what warranty comes with your scooter and where you would have to send it should a problem arise. If you buy a through a company listing on Gearbest, there is a likelihood that you would have to send it abroad to be fixed.