Tencent shelled out $15 million USD to rebroadcast this year’s Olympics, hoping to cement their position as China’s leading online sports streaming service. Now they’re taking the fitness frenzy one step further.
The social and gaming giant has invested an undisclosed amount in health startup Keep, which compiles home training regimes that can be accessed through an app. It’s unclear what form the partnership will involve, though it could signal a host of new fitness-related services in Tencent’s ecosystem.
“There [is] considerable potential for cooperation with Tencent’s health and sports businesses as well as with WeChat”, a Keep spokesperson told Technode.
Keep also hinted at plans to add training courses designed on Olympic athletes as well as an an e-commerce platform.
Tencent made their first foray into fitness tracking in August last year with the launch of ‘WeRun’, an official WeChat service that lets users track fitness metrics. Earlier int he year the company launched ‘WeChat Sports’, a separate app, for the local market.
Waves of Chinese investment have hit the sports industry in the past year, from Chinese conglomerates buying into premier league football clubs to astronomical bidding wars over rebroadcasting rights. For Tencent, which oversees one of the country’s largest sport streaming services, tapping the disposable wealth of China’s growing middle class through fitness services is an obvious play.
Keep claims to have amassed more than 20 million monthly active users since its launch in February 2015. It’s one of several fitness apps gaining traction in China. Codoon, an app that combines sports and social networking was valued at over 900 million yuan in June this year and boasts more than 1 million daily average users. FitTime, another similar app that offers home workouts, announced a B series of more than 10 million yuan.
Keep’s early investors include Ventech Venture Capital, Bertelsmann Asia Investments, GGV Capital, and Morningside Ventures.