US wearables pioneer Fitbit wins contract with Singapore government

Fitbit beats Apple in the negotiations with Singapore government that could see it supplying trackers to up to one million citizens.

Singapore. Photo from Shutterstock.

Fitbit, US-based fitness wearables company said it has won a contract with Singapore’s Health Promotion Board (HPB) to provide fitness trackers and services to up to one million citizens as part of a health initiative called Live Healthy SG.

Fitbit’s CEO James Park told CNBC that the negotiations were “highly competitive” and Apple was one of the bidders.

Live Healthy SG is a program designed for Singapore by Fitbit and HPB to help Singaporeans become healthier. Singaporeans interested in the program will have to sign up for a year-long subscription to Fitbit Premium at SGD 10 (USD 7) per month. In return, Fitbit will provide the participants a health tracker worth SGD 158 for free.

The health tracker uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide participating Singaporeans with personalized health advice. It will encourage physical activity, healthy eating, and better sleep quality. The insights gathered can also help to enrich HPB’s programs, said Zee Yoong Kang, the CEO according to CNBC.

Data-sharing is strictly voluntary and all personal identifiers would be removed prior to sharing with the Singapore government, according to local news site Channel News Asia citing Steve Morley, vice president of Fitbit Asia-Pacific.

According to CNA, HPB will align the Live Healthy SG program with other national initiatives such as the National Steps Challenge and the Healthy 365 app to drive engagement.

Fitbit did not reveal how much the deal was worth but it is clearly a boost for the company whose stock price has plunged more than 50% in the past year.

A spokesperson from Fitbit told CNBC that the deal with Singapore’s government represents more than 5% of the company’s health solutions unit’s expected revenue for 2020.

In fact, shares of Fitbit climbed 3% in midday New York Stock Exchange trading on the day the company announced its contract with Singapore, Yahoo reports.

KrASIA has reached out to HPB for a comment and has yet to hear back.

After the Fitbit’s CEO’s statements towards media, Singapore’s Health Promotion Board issued it own clarifying statement:

Media reports that the Singapore government is planning to give away one million free Fitbit devices are not correct.

In Fitbit’s collaboration with the Singapore Health Promotion Board on a new population-based health initiative, Live Healthy SG, Fitbit will be the ones providing free Inspire HR trackers to participants who commit to a 12-month subscription to our Fitbit Premium service. This Fitbit Premium service is developed, operated and owned by Fitbit. This Fitbit program will run alongside other existing population-based health programs by the Health Promotion Board, such as Singapore’s National Steps Challenge and Eat Drink Shop Healthy Challenge, where Singaporeans can take part in, at no participation cost.

Reports that suggest that Fitbit had won the contract because one million Singaporeans would be participating in the programme are also inaccurate. The 1 million participation number is a Fitbit target, following the award of the contract to us, and it refers to Fitbit’s planned reach of our Live Healthy SG programme.

Fitbit is one of several partners identified through the call for collaboration by the Health Promotion Board for industry partnerships. Any suggestion in the media that any other players have not been selected under the call for collaboration is untrue. As highlighted in the media release, it is the intention of the Health Promotion Board to continue to work with industry innovators beyond Fitbit.