BEIJING — Competition is intensifying in the global home exercise industry, as coronavirus-driven gym closures prompt highlight the importance of people looking after their health and getting enough exercise despite being stuck at home.
Last year, Peloton Interactive, a New York-based manufacturer of interactive exercise bikes and treadmills, saw its market capitalization jump sixfold. Apple has already launched a subscription fitness app Apple Fitness+ in some countries.
According to styd, a Chinese provider of store-management systems for fitness-related companies, some 109 fitness-related companies around the world raised funds last year, the majority of which were related to online and smart functions.
Home fitness was among the segments attracting the most attention. In June, Canadian sportswear maker Lululemon Athletica bought U.S. home fitness equipment maker Mirror for $500 million.
Late December, Beijing Calories Technology, the startup behind China’s most popular workout app, Keep, raised $360 million from Japan’s SoftBank Vision Fund and China’s Tencent Holdings, among other investors. The company is now valued at over $2 billion, double what it was worth after its previous funding round last May.
Keep announced last June that it had successfully turned its business positive and said it would continue to focus on home fitness. The company also pledged to promote its business in a comprehensive manner, combining dietary supplements, training wear, exercise equipment and exercise menus. It also said that it aims to become a platformer by linking online programs and membership systems to providing home exercise services to its more than 300 million registered users.
The first version of Keep’s workout app was released on Feb. 4, 2015. Back then, fourth-generation mobile services were already in full swing in China and Apple’s iPhone6 had just been released. That laid the groundwork for Keep’s widespread use.
Keep’s registered users swelled to 2 million in just three months following its release, lifting it to fifth place in the fitness category. The app was chosen as one of Apple’s best apps of 2015, and was pre-installed in all iPhone models released in greater China.
The company has improved the functions of its app, has developed more than 1,200 exercise menus and come up with membership systems. The app’s users can view video lessons by professional instructors and receive customized workout programs.
With over 10 million registered users, its monthly sales are estimated at more than 100 million yuan ($15.5 million), based on a membership fee for the first contract month of 9 yuan ($1.3).
The company in 2018 launched an offline business capitalizing on its online content. It has also developed home smart exercise devices, exercise equipment and dietary supplements with a focus on users’ lifestyles, and opened fitness club Keepland.
The company’s home exercise bike, the Keep C1, was the biggest seller in its category on Alibaba’s Tmall shopping site during last year’s “11.11 Global Shopping Festival.”
Last year, the company released a one-stop solution for home exercise enthusiasts. The company has built a network of services combining motivation for exercise, provision of equipment and contents, as well as building fitness communities. By doing so, the app has become the most convenient fitness tool for users.
Meanwhile, the company has developed online lessons by offering content IP and programs by well-known instructors, providing content developers and instructors with new business opportunities. The company has continued to play a bigger role and aims to become a platformer. (Source: asia.nikkei.com)