Arevo Vietnam, a company specialising in 3D printing technology and carbon fibre polymer materials, recently faced scrutiny and ultimately shut down its operations in the Saigon High-Tech Park (SHTP). The ambitious Superstrata 3D printed bike project, backed by Le Diep Kieu Trang, the former CEO of Facebook Vietnam, and her husband Sonny Vu, has faced mounting criticism from the community due to product quality and customer responsibility issues.
The project, which received an initial investment of $19.5 million, aimed to produce 3D printers, software services, and manufacturing services using carbon fibre polymer materials. However, Arevo Vietnam’s inability to produce carbon materials resulted in inflated costs and non-competitive finished products, contributing to the company’s exit from the SHTP.
Superstrata 3D Printed Bike Project
On January 27, 2021, the SHTP Management Board convened a meeting with businesses and granted Arevo Vietnam an investment registration certificate for their project. At the time, the venture appeared promising, with the highlight being the production of the Superstrata 3D-printed bicycle. The project was founded by renowned figures in the tech industry, Le Diep Kieu Trang and Sonny Vu, who drew attention with their innovative approach.
The Superstrata, billed as the world’s first solid carbon fibre bicycle, was a huge success and sparked a lot of interest. The bike’s use of 3D printing technology and ultra-lightweight carbon fibre, resulting in a weight of approximately 1.3 kg, was highlighted in the promotional campaign. Furthermore, the bike featured custom design options that catered to individual user preferences, fostering a sense of connection between the product and the people of Vietnam.
However, the project quickly hit a snag when numerous customers expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of the Superstrata bikes and raised safety concerns. The project’s reputation was harmed by delivery delays and materials that did not meet promised specifications. Scientific flaws in the design and subpar manufacturing of various components added to riders’ sense of insecurity.
The disgruntled Superstrata cycling community made concerted efforts, both globally and in Vietnam, to engage in direct discussions with the project’s investors, seeking resolutions and accountability. Their concerns, however, were met with silence, and communication abruptly ceased for those who dared to express their displeasure.
The controversy reached a climax when netizens recently condemned another Indiegogo crowdfunding project launched by Sonny Vu. This venture, which focuses on a 3D-printed carbon fibre scooter, received over $500,000 in funding from enthusiastic users. However, it is now being accused of being a “fraudulent project,” which has resulted in its blockage amid the mounting claims.
Arevo Vietnam has ceased operations and investment in the SHTP due to mounting criticism and challenges related to carbon material production. The failure of the project emphasises the importance of responsible practises, customer-centricity, and open communication in the realm of innovative ventures.
The fallout from this contentious endeavour has stakeholders reflecting on the lessons learned and emphasising the importance of maintaining quality, integrity, and timely responses to consumer concerns. As the technology industry evolves, it is critical that companies prioritise accountability, ensuring that their ground-breaking projects live up to the promises made to customers and the wider community.
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