Modern life is stressful and unhealthy. We work too much, spend too much time indoors, see our friends and loved ones too little, eat terribly and don’t exercise as much as we should. But there is an antidote—in the world of wellness.
The wellness boom is not a fad. It’s a recognition that mental and bodily health are connected, and that we need to be proactive in taking care of them. It’s also a recognition that there’s money to be made in solving the problems that so many of us face in our daily lives.
East-meets-West cities such as Hong Kong and Singapore are centres of wellness entrepreneurialism. After all, many of the ideas that underpin wellness concepts are based on traditional Chinese or Indian practices—yoga, tai chi, meditation, herbal infusions and remedies, and even just the simple belief that what you eat is intimately connected to your health.
“Wellness is an interesting combination of East and West—on the one hand there’s the statistics, the science behind it, and then there’s the mind and body, the spiritual side, and so when you combine the two it’s a perfect fit,” says Phillip King, founder and chairman of Varcis Capital, an investor who focuses on start-ups in the wellness and sport technology sectors.
This means that many homegrown wellness businesses in Asia have an authentic connection to these traditions that is valued by modern consumers all over the world.
We take a look at some of these promising start-ups to see what opportunities there are to turn wellness into wealth.
Many employers are getting on board with wellness as they realise that a healthy workforce is happier and more productive. Wellness platforms can give employees access to a variety of services that are good for mind and body, and ultimately reduce the amount of time and money they spend at the doctor. That can result in lower group healthcare premiums, meaning that using these services can actually save employers money in the long run.