23 February 2019
Bernard Chan may have targeted the right customer group by opening a gym and wellness center for the elderly. Photo: Facebook
Bernard Chan may have targeted the right customer group by opening a gym and wellness center for the elderly. Photo: Facebook

The old man and the gym

Here’s an idea for Hong Kong’s old folk: join a playgroup with your fruit money.

Asia Financial, owned by potential chief executive candidate Bernard Chan and his family, is opening a gym in Sheung Wan that caters for active seniors.

Called The Kinnet (not Xbox Kinect, but the name exudes energy nonetheless), the gym — wellness center, if you like — offers yoga, dance and music lessons for people who are 50 plus.

The Kinnet will charge a monthly fee of HK$1,800, or more than half of the HK$3,000 old age monthly allowance they receive.

In an interview, Chan said the price would be affordable to most middle-class seniors because “some people I know spend more than this amount in buying health supplements”.

For the rather hefty charge, which is twice as much as the monthly membership fee at Fitness First, members can have a hangout where they can socialize and lead a healthy lifestyle.

As a new entrant to the old market, The Kinnet is challenging the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions in providing leisure activities for the middle-aged and seniors — despite the latter’s reputation as a cheap service provider.

No doubt about it, the gray-haired population (include the white-haired and the toupee set as well) is a big and lucrative market. Baby boomers who have accumulated substantial wealth during the property boom have turned their focus to enjoying life and extending their longevity to enjoy life even more.

They are also big spenders who have no second thoughts about splurging on everything from travel and leisure to health and home. Ask Country Garden or Agile Property how many of their clients in the Pearl River Delta are from Hong Kong, and you’ll get the picture.

On the other hand, some people in this age bracket are also a highly vulnerable group who retired early because of the fast encroachment of technology on the workplace. These people need a place where they can keep themselves busy, otherwise they are likely to slip into depression.

Given the demographics, Asia Financial is determined to target this group of people by offering an extensive range of age-specific facilities and activities to nurture their physical, mental and emotional well-being.

In its interim report, the firm said: “The Kinnet will be a long-term project seeking to serve Hong Kong’s growing senior population. We see very attractive prospects in Hong Kong and possibly elsewhere in serving this developing market.

“We continue to foresee good prospects in the health and wellness sectors in the region, owing to long-term demographic and policy trends, and we continue to consider further opportunities.”

Many in Hong Kong see the aging population as a cause for concern. Asia Financial sees golden opportunities.

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EJ Insight writer

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