The founder of a healthcare booking app said he wanted to help people stay fitter after realizing that most people die from non-communicable diseases.
Chevy Beh, founder of the Malaysian company BookDoc, told CNBC's "Squawk Box Asia" on Monday that he wanted to create a fitness app in the light of the figures from the World Health Organization (WHO).
"WHO came up with the data … and said that global deaths from health, actually 71%, are from non-communicable diseases … so we said how do we play this?"
According to WHO figures published in 2016, 71% of global deaths were caused by conditions like ischemic heart disease and stroke – and exercise can reduce the risk of developing such diseases.
With Beh's BookDoc Activ system, users can sync their fitness equipment and apps like Fitbit or Apple Health and then track their average daily steps over a month. These steps lead to points that are then rewarded by partners such as fitness chain Fitness First, nutritional supplement company GNC and grocery company HappyFresh.
"With a FitBit, a Garmin, you have to use the same platform because they want you to be in (their own) ecosystem … but they don't allow you to have cross-device devices. So what we did a little differently, is that we are device independent, that we only connect to all of their devices, ”explained Beh. BookDoc Activ claims to have tracked more than 16,000 billion steps since its launch in 2016.
The coronavirus has boosted China's health technology startups. Investments bounced back to pre-pandemic levels, according to CB Insights.
During the outbreak, BookDoc worked with WeDoctor, supported by Tencent, to provide free health information in multiple languages. The platform also works with companies to help them manage the health benefits of their employees.
"We also work with insurance companies … (and) we charge an administration fee to companies to use these services. We then added other (services) like an e-commerce marketplace … so we have multiple sources of income" said Beh.
JD Health, owned by JD.com, offered free online consultations to around 150,000 patients daily in China at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, according to its CEO Xin Lijun.
CNBC's Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report.