Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Alibaba deal aims to expand Fitbit reach in China

Steve Rogerson
May 4, 2016
Fitbit plans to expand its reach into China following a memorandum of understanding signed with Alibaba subsidiary Tmall. China's largest third-party platform for brands and retailers will introduce the Fitbit platform to hundreds of millions of people across the country.
The Fitbit platform – which consists of devices, apps, social and motivational features, advice and personalised coaching – helps people make behavioural changes to be more active, exercise more, eat smarter, track their sleep and manage their weight.
Alibaba and Fitbit formalised their intent to enter into a strategic partnership at a signing ceremony at Alibaba’s global headquarters in Hangzhou, China. As part of this arrangement, Fitbit will establish a major retail presence on Alibaba’s Tmall online shopping site as a key brand partners. Tmall will also aim to help Fitbit become one of the first ten global brands within Tmall’s electronics category to achieve ten million fans in Asia.
“Alibaba is the gateway to China for international brands seeking to access one of the world’s largest consumer markets, and we are pleased to announce this partnership to provide Chinese consumers greater access to Fitbit products,” said Hao Li, general manager at Alibaba. “Across China there is a growing interest in personal health, fitness and overall well-being, and we see very strong demand from our customers in these categories – specifically for Fitbit devices. We look forward to leveraging Fitbit’s leadership in the emerging field of connected health and fitness to connect our consumers with the budding national fitness craze.”
To introduce the retail partnership, Tmall plans to host a Fitbit Super Brand Day on May 18, to promote Fitbit’s newest devices – Blaze and Alta – in China. This promotion will be Tmall’s first Super Brand Day for an activity tracker and will directly reach consumers via the portal and mobile app.
On Super Brand Day, Fitbit will be one of the most promoted products on, with strong traffic directed to Tmall’s Fitbit page. The day will extend Fitbit’s exposure to millions more Chinese consumers, helping build brand and category awareness across China. Blaze and Alta join the diverse line of award-winning products from Fitbit including Surge, Charge HR, Flex, One and Zip activity trackers, as well as the Aria Wifi Smart Scale.
The products are part of the Fitbit platform, which aims to empower people with information, offering a fun and engaging experience, providing insights and guidance for users to get the most out of their trackers and help them reach their health, fitness and wellness goals.
“Since 2014, we’ve seen steady growth in the market as Chinese consumers become more aware of how Fitbit devices enable you to live a more balanced, more active life,” said Woody Scal, chief business officer at Fitbit. “Like millions of people around the world, Chinese consumers are finding that Fitbit can help you to make small changes, like walking more, that can add up to big health and fitness benefits. In partnering with Alibaba’s Tmall, we have the opportunity to reach millions of Chinese consumers. We’ve always seen great potential in China, and we’re looking forward to launching the fashionable Fitbit Blaze and Alta devices through Tmall.”
Fitbit recently announced it had shipped more than one million Fitbit Blaze devices in its first month of availability in the USA, Europe, Australia and south Asia. The company also announced that more than one million Alta devices have shipped since it went on sale in the USA in March.
Launched in April 2008, Tmall aims to provide a premium shopping experience for increasingly sophisticated Chinese consumers in search of top-quality branded merchandise. A large number of international and Chinese brands and retailers have established storefronts on Tmall.