Claiming to be the country’s largest digital wellness platform, Keep was established in late 2014 by then 24-year-old Wang Ning. It started out as a workout-focused social media app but has diversified into on-demand workout classes, personalised fitness programmes and e-retailing (of apparel, healthy snacks and ‘connected’ fitness equipment).

As of the end of 2020 the company (also known as Beijing Calories Technology) said it had 300 million registered users, of which 3% were paying customers. Livestreaming services were launched last July to appeal to people forced to exercise at home due to Covid-19. But the same trend is seeing other firms target the same market, including electronic goods maker Xiaomi and startups like Chengdu-based Fiture, as well as other Peloton-wannabes.

In January 2021 Keep raised $360 million in a Series F financing led by SoftBank Vision Fund, which gave it a valuation of $2 billion. Bertelsmann Asia Investments, GGV Capital, Hillhouse Capital and Tencent were among the investors that doubled down on the startup. However, hopes of an IPO had to go on hold in July when Keep called off its New York listing, following Didi’s troubled debut on the same bourse a few days earlier.

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