Mitsui-invested Indian healthcare startup eyes entry into Japan market

12, Dec. 2019

GOQii founding CEO Vishal Gondal at a news conference in Mumbai on Dec. 5, 2019.
GOQii founding CEO Vishal Gondal at a news conference in Mumbai on Dec. 5, 2019.

By Atul Ranjan

NEW DELHI, NNA- India’s healthcare startup GOQii, which is invested by the conglomerate Mitsui & Co., is looking to enter Japan next year as part of a global expansion, a company executive said.

The five-year-old Indian firm that offers a wearable fitness device tracker and a smartphone app in India specifically hopes to serve Japan’s aging population.

“For a preventive healthcare solution provider like us, Japan is a key market because of its aging population as solutions we offer are very well suited for the country,” GOQii founding CEO Vishal Gondal told NNA Dec. 5 on the sidelines of a news conference in Mumbai.

GOQii sells an online health data management tool, a real-time individualized health coaching service and an online store for health-related gear. The tools can turn a workout regime into a game to boost motivation. People serious about their fitness sometimes qualify for cash or gold as rewards.

Mitsui, which had announced support last year for the startup’s expansion into Japan, is keen on promoting preventive healthcare to Japanese consumers, spokeswoman Rieko Terada in Tokyo told NNA in an email on Wednesday.

“As the medical expenditure in Japan is increasing, there is no doubt of the importance of preventive healthcare in Japan,” she said. It called GOQii “unique” in its product lineup.

GOQii is betting on its “unique and cost effective” preventive healthcare solution to gain traction in the competitive healthcare market in Japan.

According to Japan External Trade Organization’s data issued in February 2018, at least 73 Japanese firms in various sectors currently already work in care for the elderly.

Mitsui declined to give details about any talks with GOQii to enter Japan. The company previously has invested in hospital care, pharmaceutical products and dialysis clinics.

“We are working with Mitsui... so hopefully in 2020 we will look at entering the Japanese market,” Gondal said.

Japanese people over aged 65 stood at 35.58 million last year, a record high and 28.1 percent of the total population, according to the Statistics Bureau of Japan.

In the home market, GOQii plans next year to expand its product lineup and sell gear at 10,000-plus physical stores. It aims to reach 100 million subscribers in India, up from 10 million now.

“Given the lack of adequate health infrastructure in India, and also expensive healthcare solutions around the world, we strongly believe that preventive healthcare is the only long-term solution,” Gondal said.