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36Kr/KrASIA

Chinese startup launches smart fitness mirror locally

myShape ready to ramp up production as COVID keeps people exercising at home

Users can watch instructor videos from the myShape mirror. (Photo courtesy of myShape)

BEIJING -- With the fitness equipment industry growing at a rapid pace as more people choose to exercise at home amid the coronavirus pandemic, Chinese startup myShape is hoping to benefit from this trend.

The company recently released in China an artificial intelligence-based smart fitness mirror, like those sold by Mirror in the U.S. The myShape mirror projects instructor videos and provides feedback that enables users to correct their movements via virtual instructors and 3D deep learning cameras embedded in the glass. It has around 1,500 training modes.

Mirror of the U.S. has already sold more than 100,000 units of its fitness mirrors, even though they are priced at $1,495 each on its website. myShape said that it has started selling an international version of its fitness mirror in 80 countries.

It has now started mass production of both Chinese and international versions, and has already shipped several thousand units, according to founder Feng Wei. The company has the capacity to churn out several thousand units a month at its supply chains in Shanghai, Jiangsu Province and Shenzhen.

myShape was founded in Shanghai in 2016 and has partnered with Taiwanese chipmaker MediaTek, Chinese fitness equipment maker Shuhua Sports and Chinese TV maker Skyworth Group.

Many startups have ventured into or expanded their home fitness business this year. American smart fitness machine maker Tonal announced on Sept. 17 that it had raised $110 million in series D from investors including U.S. private equity company L Catterton, the Amazon Alexa Fund as well as NBA players Stephen Curry of Golden State Warriors and Paul George of Los Angeles Clippers.

In China, Chengdu-based smart fitness company Fiture also provides a similar product to myShape that allows users to work out to video or live lessons displayed on the mirror.

Feng said the challenge the industry faces is in persuading people to exercise but he believes that a good user experience is key to drawing in fans.

China's smart fitness industry has room to grow, although it may take some time before companies can turn a profit. Feng said he expects that the COVID-19 pandemic will prompt manufacturers to develop more home fitness machines, accelerating the growth of the industry.

36Kr, a Chinese tech news portal founded in Beijing in 2010, has more than 150 million readers worldwide. Nikkei announced a partnership with 36Kr on May 22, 2019.

For the Japanese version of this story, click here.

For the Chinese version, click here.

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