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Nike Fuelband Fit for Asia?

Another lightweight, polymer-encased fitness wristband has hit the market. But this one comes from Nike. The Nike+ FuelBand measures time, calories, steps and “NikeFuel.” It uses an accelerometer to measure movement, has built-in USB and 20 LED flights that flash red or green to show your progress, and can connect wirelessly to the iPhone via Bluetooth. The FuelBand comes with a free iPhone app, and is social network friendly, for those users who want to share their activity updates with Facebook, Foursquare and even Path. For now, the FuelBand app is iOS-only. Stefan Olander, Nike’s vice president of digital sport, says that the company will eventually explore other mobile operating systems for the app.

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With its initial launch mostly targeting the States, the Fuelband seems to exude an iPhone-esque essence from its pores in a sense that it could be a highly sought-after product in Asia shortly after the release on February 22.

The interesting thing is that the Fuelband’s appeal might be initially driven by fashion statement or status symbol reasons. It’s a cool, new product. It’s Nike. It’s 150 bucks. It’s tied to iPhone.

The funny thing is that the product’s functionality seems quite brainless; kind of like Ron Popeil’s Showtime Rotisserie. Set it, and forget it! Consumers in Asia might not care as much about tracking their diet and fitness. Gyms also aren’t as prevalent here, the daily diets consist of more green veggies than many other places in the world, and there’s a lot of walking going on to and from public transportation points in major cities. But the fact that it combines trendy with simple will probably make this a huge hit in Asia, especially when Nike starts to market the product behind the hottest sports superstars here. Watch out for a swoosh in Nike’s dominance throughout emerging markets later this year and into 2013.

By Edward Eng 
Business Development Manager

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