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Fitbit will give every citizen in Singapore a free Fitbit, with a catch

In an effort to encourage a healthier lifestyle, Singapore’s government has partnered with Fitbit to offer its citizens free fitness trackers.

Under the country’s national health program — Live Healthy SG, hundreds of thousands of Singapore residents will soon be able to register to get a free Fitbit Inspire HR.

The activity band itself, which has a $99 price tag, won’t cost a dime. However, in exchange, users will have to subscribe to Fitbit’s premium coaching service, which costs $10 a month, for a year, according to CNBC. On top of that, Singaporeans will have to agree to share whatever data the Fitbit collects with the country’s health board.

The data will shape future health programs as well as “enrich” the Board’s promos through relevant and practical insights, Singapore’s Promotion Health Board said. On privacy, Fitbit claims that there will be a “clear and seamless consent process” and enrolled residents will know precisely what data they’re sharing with the government. While participants won’t have an opt-out option specifically for data sharing, enrollment in the program will remain optional.

Singapore has a growing population of 5.6 million and Fitbit is expected to supply hundreds of thousands of fitness bands.

“We intend to work with industry innovators, such as Fitbit, on additional efforts to use technology to provide Singaporeans with personalized health advice and nudges, so that they can take control of their own health,” said Zee Yoong Kang, CEO of the country’s Health Promotion Board.

The monthly fee quickly adds up to be higher than the cost of the fitness tracker itself and represents Fitbit’s larger push towards subscription services as it struggles to stand its ground in the hardware space amid competitors like Apple, Xiaomi, and Huawei.

Plus, Fitbit’s smartwatch business has failed to take off. Last month, the company reported its smartwatch revenue has dropped 27 percent year-over-year, mainly due to a result of “weaker than expected” Versa Lite sales.

A Fitbit spokesperson declined to say how much the deal with Singapore is worth.

“We think this program could reach up to one million people. It’s an indication hopefully to investors and other potential customers that the transformation that we’ve talked about in our business model is becoming real,” Park said. Speaking with CNBC, Park also revealed Apple was one of the bidders and negotiations were “highly competitive”.

Singaporeans can pre-register for Live Healthy SG in September and the program is officially slated to debut in late October.

Update 9/4: Changed headline to clarify that Fitbit will be giving out the free fitness bands.

Shubham Agarwal
Shubham Agarwal is a freelance technology journalist from Ahmedabad, India. His work has previously appeared in Firstpost…
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