Kaishi Pte Ltd. a Singapore-based company, will commercially launch its fetal heartbeat monitor, Xinkaishi, in mainland China next month, aiming to tap the world’s largest market for products for newborn babies.
“There were about 16.5 million babies born in China last year. About 9-10 million families per year are within our target market,” Steve Mallouk, the firm’s chief executive, told EJ Insight in an interview.
If 5-10 percent of the target customers buy its product, the company can sell between 500,000 and a million units per year, Mallouk said.
“It’s a renewable market, as there are new families giving birth every year,” he said.
Mallouk said he expects the device, designed and developed in California, will be popular in China, as it can help parents who cannot afford the time and money for several ultrasound scans to form emotional bonds with their babies.
Xinkaishi, which literally means “begin from the heart”, uses a microphone and a Bluetooth transmitter placed on the mother’s belly to pick up the fetal heartbeat between the 18th and 40th week of pregnancy, with an app to cancel noise in the signal.
The company has delivered 3,000 units of the device for public testing in the mainland over the last several months.
“It is not a medical device but a consumer device,” Mallouk said.
Some users burst into tears when they first hear their child’s heartbeat, and some use the device five to seven times a day, he said.
Joyful mothers can share their babies’ heartbeats with others through social media, Mallouk said.
They can also keep track of the data using an online dashboard and obtain healthcare and parenting information over the Xinkaishi app, he said.
The company is working with several suppliers of consumer goods and hopes to add a chat function to its app.
Mallouk said he is not worried about protecting the firm’s intellectual property rights in China, as the main value of the product is in its algorithm, which is hard to crack, rather than the physical device.
“Anyone can build a device that looks the same as ours, but it will not be optimized without our algorithm, which can cancel noises and pull out the baby’s heartbeat,” he said.
The company’s website says Xinkaishi is backed by BCG Digital Ventures, a global corporate incubator, and Allianz, one of the world’s largest insurance companies.
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