Earlier if you wanted to work out in a controlled environment in Hong Kong, you’d have to fork over a lump sum for a gym membership, the best deal involving a one-year package or longer. Not so ideal for frequent travellers or those with commitment issues with gyms.
Luckily enough, tech startups have taken note of this pain-point in the fitness space and are sprinting into Hong Kong’s market full speed ahead.
Operating on a model similar to ClassPass, a startup founded in New York and now valued at more than US$200 million in its Series B financing in early 2015, a handful of monthly membership programmes have joined the healthy and easy lifestyle movement.
These startups all operate on an attractive premise for the consumer: Pay by the month for a diverse and unlimited range of fitness classes, which you can check the availability of online.
Gym partners benefit by filling classes and gaining the chance to spread the word of their own facilities and, in the best-case scenario, luring members.
We compare the newest players in Hong Kong — KFit and GuavaPass — the latter of which launched in Hong Kong earlier this week.
Here’s a familiar name: Joel Neoh. The Malaysian entrepreneur extraordinaire is the Founder of KFit (you might also recognise him as the Founder of Groupon Malaysia), alongside Co-founders Danny Yeung and Chen Chow Yeoh.
Yes, both iOS and Android.
KFit is in Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland, Singapore, Seoul, Taipei and Kuala Lumpur. But the membership is limited to your city (i.e. if you register in Hong Kong, you only have access to Hong Kong’s KFit partners.)
Class diversity and limitations
KFit separates its resources into three categories: Classes, facilities and gym access with unlimited usage for all. Most facilities and studios limit the attendance per month to three visits.
Class-wise, it runs the whole gamut of yoga, zumba, K-Pop, laughter stretching exercise and martial arts. Hawaiian dance was listed before, but it looks like it’s temporarily unavailable.
The facilities available are currently golf driving ranges bookable by the hour; gym access includes a selection from island-side located hotels or further away facilities (end of MTR line) for a one- to four-hour pass.
Classes must be booked the day before by 11:59 PM.
The classes are evenly spread throughout the city with a large amount centred in Central, Kwun Tong and Cheung Sham Wan. KFit works with about 209 fitness partners in Hong Kong.
Late cancellations (before midnight on the day of) will result in a US$14 (HK$100) late cancellation fee.
Fee is US$64 (HK$499) per month; limited time promotion of one-month free membership at the time of writing this article.
Co-founder and CEO Jeffrey Liu, formerly Head of Corporate Development at BeachMint, an e-commerce startup in Los Angeles, started GuavaPass with Co-founder and President Rob Pachter, previously Director of Sales for Integral Ad Science Southeast Asia.
In the works.
Live in Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok, with plans to expand in Australia and Middle East. Once you register, you are eligible to take classes at any of these locations.
Class diversity and limitations
GuavaPass works with over 50 fitness studios. This is the part that offers the most bang for the buck: There are classes such as Dragon Boat, women’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Capoeira and even private golf lessons at an indoor golf driving range. There is a set monthly cap of three classes per studio.
Classes can be booked on the day of, as close to an hour prior, as long as there is availability.
Majority around Hong Kong island, with selections in Kowloon and new territories.
No show policy results in a fine of US$14 (HK$100).
Fee is US$115 (HK$899) per month; current limited time promotional price HK$699.
If cost is your main concern, then KFit is obviously the best fit at US$64 (HK$499) a month as it is substantially cheaper than GuavaPass.
But if you are looking for something more niche and curated — indoor Dragon Boat class or Capoeira for beginners — GuavaPass, at US$115 (HK$899) a month will offer more bespoke experiences.
Also, if you travel frequently around Southeast Asia and anticipate working out, GuavaPass’ international flexibility is appealing, and it also offers the option to book classes on the day of.
In any case, we have to wait and watch to see how these fitness startups will perform in the market after consumers test out the studios and classes available.