Q&A with Zepp Health COO, Mike Yeung on Huami name change
Huami has recently announced it has changed its name to Zepp Health Corp internationally. We speak to the company’s COO, Mike Yeung on the reasons behind the decision and prospects going forward.
To remind, Huami acquired the core assets of Zepp in mid-2018 in a bid to expand its presence in the premium sports products market. Zepp is a California-based outfit that has been around since 2011. It is best known for technology such as 3D visuals and interactive training tools. Zepp is also known for its strong endorsement from professional athletes.
Yesterday’s decision was, perhaps, to be expected. The company renamed its smartphone fitness app from Amazfit to Zepp in August 2020. Only the name of the app has changed – both Amazfit and Zepp watches continue to work with the same software.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
Now the name of company is going through a similar rebranding exercise. The ticker symbol of its American depositary shares listed on the NYSE has been revamped. Zepp Health says it will launch an updated corporate website and a new visual identity later this year.
What’s behind the name change?
The reasoning behind this decision is that Zepp is a name that is better known in the US and Europe. This might also be part of a bid to expand Huami’s presence in the lucrative commercial healthcare market.
“The name Zepp Health articulates more clearly our transformation as an organization, the expansion of our current product portfolio and growth in serving the commercial healthcare market,” Zepp Health COO, Mike Yeung told us.
“Additionally, ‘Zepp’ is a name that is much more easier to remember, transcending languages, cultures and borders.”
Interestingly, the company will still be known as Huami in China. This is due to the strong brand recognition in its home market.
The press release accompanying the name change news hints that there may be a slight change in direction going forward. “Industrial health space” is specifically referenced.
We asked Mr. Yeung whether this is referring to the corporation and institutional health market or something else.
“We will continue to leverage our proprietary technology platform including AI chips, biometric sensors, and data algorithms to power a broadening line of smart health products for consumers, healthcare providers and analytics services for the industry,” he said.
“In the past six months, we have secured a number of strategic partnerships with companies such as Hyperfine and Promaxo to jointly develop new medical imaging product lines and expand into the commercial healthcare market in 2021.”
To this end, Zepp Health announced yesterday a partnership with Rouumtech Co. They will private-label the company’s entire line of X-ray imaging products, including a customized Europa portable X-ray system, for the China market.
What about the current line of products?
Huami has retained and expanded on the Amazfit lineup since the Zepp acquisition. Mr. Yeung told us Amazfit with its line of health gear will continue churning out new devices. The same is the case for Zepp which already has a few watches under its belt including the Zepp E and Zepp Z.
“Though we cannot reveal details of our future product roadmap, we will continue to bring more exciting Zepp and Amazfit products to global consumers later this year.”
In its previous incarnation Zepp was well known for its presence in individual sports. Its product range included smart gear for tennis, golf and other sports. We asked Mr. Yeung if there were plans to develop products in this area.
“The Zepp brand has gained a loyal following over the last decade for its accuracy and precision in monitoring sports activity and focus on personalized health management,” he said.
“Over the past year, we launched three Zepp smartwatches and we will look to expand our product portfolio with a broadening line of smart health products for consumers, healthcare providers and analytics services for the industry.”
Mr. Yeung believes the company is well positioned in the global wearable tech market. It has been increasing its share of the pie in recent years.
“We are one of the largest manufacturers of smartwatches and fitness bands globally. In 2019, for example, we shipped 36.6 million units of smartwatches and fitness bands, including our Amazfit brand, and products developed and manufactured for Xiaomi, comprising 23% of global category shipments.”
“In the third quarter of 2020, Zepp Health (Huami) shipped a total of 15.9 million units, a year-on-year increase of 16%. According to IDC’s wearable device report for Q2 2020, Amazfit watches ranked first in the adult watch market in India, Indonesia, Italy, and Spain. Additionally, Amazfit watches were ranked third in Thailand; fourth in China and Russia; and among the top five in Germany, France, Brazil, and Poland.”
“While our consumer wearables share the market with other consumer wearable smartwatches, Zepp Health is not just a manufacturer of smartwatches and wearables for consumers. We are making investments in the enterprise health and imaging market to expand our commercial portfolio.”
Lots more good things are obviously to come from Zepp Health Corp. The company is already on its second generation optical heart rate sensor and has recently added blood oxygen tracking across a range of its wearables.
“Zepp Health has established a complete ecosystem of sensors and AI-driven data engines, including: BioTracker™2, a second-generation PPG biology tracking optical sensor; RealBeats™2, a second-generation heart rate engine; OxygenBeats™, a blood oxygen engine; SomnusCare™, a sleep data engine; ExerSense™, an AI recognition engine for motion patterns based on sports big data, and Huami-PAI™, a human health assessment system.”
“Our most advanced smartwatch, the Zepp Z, currently tracks a number of health metrics, including ECG, SpO2, sleep quality, stress level.”
As far as the next five years, Mr. Yeung sees lots of opportunity in the commercial healthcare market. Competition will be stiff as a number of other companies are eyeing this lucrative space including Apple, Fitbit and others.
“With our expertise in hardware miniaturization, we believe there is an exciting opportunity to integrate wearables that enable real-time clinical monitoring into commercial healthcare products like MRIs, CT scanners, etc. and other technologies—some that may not even exist yet!”
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