Health

Fitbit targets 1 million new users with Singapore government tie-up

(Reuters) – Fitbit Inc (FIT.N) said on Wednesday it signed a contract with the Singapore government to provide fitness trackers and services in a health program it said could reach up to one million users.

FILE PHOTO: Visitors walk past an advertising billboard for Fitbit Ionic watches at the IFA Electronics Show in Berlin, Germany, September 1, 2017. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

Fitbit will supply its trackers free of charge on the condition users spend S$10 ($7.22) each month, for a year, on the company’s premium subscription.

“The program’s goal is to ultimately reach up to one million people,” a spokeswoman for Fitbit said in an email.

The company’s shares closed up 2% on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

The program could be a boost for the San Francisco-based wearables pioneer, which has seen its shares sink in the past two years in the face of competition from Apple (AAPL.O), Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) and a raft of cheaper rivals.

“This is Fitbit’s first major integration of a digital health platform and wearables into a national public health program globally,” the company said in a statement.

Singapore, a city-state of 5.6 million people, has the longest life expectancy in the world and widespread access to healthcare. However, the government has raised concerns about relatively high rates of heart disease and diabetes among its fast-ageing population.

Subscribers will receive personalized health advice and nudges to encourage physical activity, healthy eating and better sleep, said Zee Yoong Kang, chief executive of Singapore’s Health Promotion Board (HPB).

Fitbit said the program, which begins in October, will ask users if they consent to share their data with the HPB, which will use the information for health promotions.

Fitbit was among several bidders, an HPB spokeswoman said.

“There were many bidders and some were significant international players,” she said, adding that Fitbit had set the target for one million users.

Apple was among those vying for the bid, Fitbit Chief Executive James Park told CNBC here

Reporting by Neha Malara, Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru and John Geddie; Editing by Marguerita Choy, Patrick Graham and Darren Schuettler


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