S.E. Asian start-up to launch smartwatch, eyeing elderly Japanese

BANGKOK, NNA - A Southeast Asian technology start-up plans to launch a smartwatch for the elderly, particularly for Japanese seniors, betting on one of the world's most rapidly aging countries after releasing similar devices for children in there earlier this year.

The new product with functions including fall detection monitoring will be marketed in Japan after its planned sales in Thailand at the beginning of next year, said Chatchai Tangchittrong, the Thai-native founder of Pomo House International Pvt. Ltd. in Singapore.

"Many wearable devices are designed to serve users, but we design it to comfort others as well," Chatchai told NNA in an interview, noting that a family can easily monitor or track an elderly parent, for example one with Alzheimer's disease, through an application connected with the wearable device.

Japan will be the first overseas market for the smartwatch for senior citizens, which is also equipped with GPS, vital sign assessment as well as health summary report function.

Pomo House Co., the start-up's operational headquarters in Bangkok, started selling smartwatches for children with GPS tracking function at a retail price of 19,800 yen ($178) in Japan in March this year.

It has partnered with Japanese online mall operator Discover and achieved better-than-expected sales of almost 200 units.

The Thai subsidiary, founded two years ago, has strengthened its international distribution networks in 20 countries, including Japan, Europe, North and South America and Russia.

The proportion of "domestic sales will be scaled down from about 60 percent currently" as the start-up tries to leverage sales globally, it said.

It aims to post $10 million in revenue next year, more than tripled from this year's projection of $3 million and up from $2.2 million last year, Chatchai said.

In Japan, the company plans to look for other retailers to distribute its products via offline channels, while working on adding more languages such as Japanese, Chinese and Spanish rather than English to its devices and applications to reach broader foreign customer bases. (NNA/Kyodo)