Hong Kong-based soy sauce maker scrambles to get into wearables

Jing Gao

HeHa Digital Health, a subsidiary of condiment maker Lee Kum Kee, announced two weeks ago it will soon be selling its very first fitness band the HeHa Dao, Jiemian.com reported.

Priced at RMB 799, the band tracks your steps, running distance, quality of sleep, and other personal metrics. On HeHa’s mobile app, which pairs with its band, users can also view their friends’ activity logs and check how they rank amongst each other on a daily leaderboard, HeHa’s spokesperson said in a press release.

The 127-year-old Lee Kum Kee company is well known in Greater China and in Chinese immigrant communities for its condiments, especially its flagship soy sauce and oyster sauce products.

Photo from Sohu.

Before setting up HeHa Digital Health, Lee Kum Kee had already been selling Chinese herbal supplements and health care products through Infinitus, its mainland-based joint-venture with Guangzhou’s Southern Medical University going back to 1992. Lee Kum Kee’s latest foray into digital accessories isn’t really too much of a stretch for the brand given its previous exposure.

Wu Jiaxing, president of HeHa, told online publisher, Jiemian, that HeHa aims to be a trend-setter in the fitness industry in the same way that Nike succesfully managed to popularize its “Lunar Run”, a nighttime running event hosted in multiple cities across China for young urban dwellers.

“We want to get everybody moving through our ‘10,000-steps-per-day’ campaign,” Wu said.

According to a news report by Beijing Business Today, there are 3,470 wearable devices being sold on JD.com, China’s second largest ecommerce site by gross merchandise volume. The vast majority, or 3,109 products, are sold for under RMB 700 with only 11% of products being priced over RMB 700, including well-established brands like Xiaomi, Samsung, Fitbit and Huawei.

Despite its RMB 799 price tag the HeHa fitness band appears to offer much of the same standard features that are seen in other fitness bands. “It will be very difficult for HeHa Dao to stand out from the fierce competition,” an analyst was quoted as saying by Beijing Business Today.

Lee Kum Kee has been tight-lipped on numbers so far. “The only thing we can tell you is our app has 200,000 downloads,” said Lian Cuifeng, its marketing director. The company has not set a sales target for HeHa Dao yet.

(Feature photo from Jiemian.com)

Jing Gao

Jing founded her own blog Ministry of Tofu and worked with Los Angeles Times, Greenpeace and LinkAsia. She graduated with a master's degree in Journalism from the University of Illinois.

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