Technology

Fitbit eyes one million new users in Singapore health scheme

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

(Reuters) – Fitbit Inc has won a contract with the Singapore government to provide fitness trackers and services to up to one million of the country’s citizens as part of a health initiative that begins in October.

The deal, which involves the company supplying its trackers free of charge but on the condition that users will spend 10 Singapore dollars per month for a year, sent the company’s shares 8% higher in premarket trading.

The deal is a fillip 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, Samsung Electronics 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.

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, and it will encourage physical activity, healthy eating and better sleep quality among users, said Zee Yoong Kang, CEO of Singapore’s Health Promotion Board (HPB).

“There were many bidders and some were significant international players,” HPB said in a statement.

Fitbit said the program includes a consent process to indicate whether the users agree to share their data with HPB. The data insights will be used for more health promotion programs by HPB in the country, the company said.

Reporting by Neha Malara, Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru and John Geddie; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Patrick Graham

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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