From robotaxis to e-scooters, Covid is changing how people in China commute

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(L to R) Edward Xu, CSO of EHang; Jianxiong Xiao, CEO of Auto X; Yan Li, CEO of NIU Technologies and Arjun Kharpal of CNBC speak on the second day the annual East Tech West conference in Nansha, Guangzhou.Dave Zhong | Getty Images for CNBCThe need for social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic has boosted demand for “individual traveling devices,” according to Chinese electric scooter maker Niu Technologies, which has seen its Nasdaq-listed shares surge nearly 300% this year.The company’s Chief Executive Yan Li said the trend is observed globally: Europe, North America and even in China where the spread of Covid-19 has been largely contained. That’s because commuting via e-scooters is seen as safer and easier, compared to driving a car and taking public transportation, he added.”After this pandemic, people actually appreciate individual traveling devices as opposed to taking public transportation, partly because of fear, of social distancing,” Li said on Wednesday at CNBC’s annual East Tech West conference in the Nansha district of Guangzhou, China.”What we observe is people are always looking for a safer, more convenient way of commuting in the city. And that’s actually no different between China and Europe and United States,” he …

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