8 Facts About True Fitness’s Sudden Closure in Thailand & Now, M’sia

Now, if this sounds remotely familiar to you, you’re not alone: a year ago, there was a shocking news about the sudden closure of all California Fitness gyms, and people still remember how it all started: the Hong Kong branches were closed off first, followed by the branches in China, and then suddenly, all Singapore outlets closed down overnight.

What’s even more appalling is that the chain has been in the red since January 2016, with debts of $21.7 million, but they continued to operate for seven months before they closed down.

Feeling a sense of déjà vu now?

Here’re eight facts about True Fitness, and its sudden closure in Thailand and Malaysia, that you might want to know, because it seems a little different from the California Fitness closure.

Firstly: What is True Fitness?

Silly as it might sound, some people might not have heard of this chain before. Unlike California Fitness, which is founded in Hong Kong, True Fitness is founded in Singapore. Established since 2004, it’s not just a gym chain, but a fitness and wellness group: it has businesses in spa, yoga and aesthetics.

In Singapore, it operates True Yoga and True Fitness, with eight True Fitness branches. Most of them are within shopping malls.

Where do they operate?

Other than Singapore, the group expanded aggressively in the last ten years, operating in Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan and China.

However, interestingly, over in their website, the “regional” section only reflects outlets from Singapore, China and Taiwan—which are the remaining regions with outlets now.

And the China market is something interesting – read on and you’ll understand.

What Happened?

On 8 June 2017, the only Thailand True Fitness branch, located in Bangkok, suddenly closed down. Prior to that, two other branches had closed down, one late last year and the other on 3 June this year.

In its website, it indicated that in the Thailand market, the “businesses are no longer financially viable due to evolving market conditions.” They are trying to get people to take over the business but previous attempts have failed, and they will continue to find suitable operators to take over.

There’s no mention of refunds or compensations at all, angering customers who have paid upfront.

Why, Why, Why?

According to TODAY, a Thai media reported that True Fitness in Thailand had lost SGD$1.99 million in 2015. It’s unknown whether they’re in the red in 2016.

But losing SGD$1.99 million in a year…and still managing to operate for another one year plus? That’s shocking enough.

After Thailand’s Closure

So, two days after the news broke out in Thailand, a spokesman from True Fitness told TODAY that the closure will not affect the Singapore outlets. The name of the spokesman isn’t revealed.

Then, Malaysia’s Outlets Closed Down As Well

In a sudden plot twist like an M. Night Shyamalan movie, on the next day of the Thailand outlet’s closure, the Malaysia outlets closed down as well. Their website appears to use the exact same template as the Thailand website, just that the statement is slightly different.

The reason for the closure is similar: it’s due to “evolving market conditions.” However, unlike its Thailand counterpart, they have “transferred” their membership from True Fitness to Chi Fitness Centres.

That will only take place on 3 July 2017, so Malaysians with True Fitness membership would have to wait for about one month before they can start gym-ing again.

At least it’s better than the Thailand outlet, no?

Spokesman told the media it’s nothing to worry about in Singapore

According to The Straits Times, a spokesman from True Fitness stressed that the Singapore operations will not be affected, this time providing more information: “The Singapore, Taiwan and China partnership is a totally different legal entity from Thailand. The terms of the partnership are specifically to grow the businesses in Singapore, China and Taiwan.

“As such, the closure in Thailand will not affect the Singapore outlets or the planned expansion (in China) as announced. In Thailand, we are a minority partner and the past years have proved challenging, and unfortunately the businesses are no longer financially viable due to evolving market conditions.”

The Group is Still Expanding

Before news of the closures, there’s a report on The Straits Times about the group’s current direction: they intend to grow in China, targeting a total of 20 new clubs in China in the next three years.

In the report, it also mentioned that the group has an annual revenue of USD$100 million and over 1,800 employees in Singapore, China and Taiwan (no mention of Thailand or Malaysia).

In addition, the company is looking to be listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

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This article was first published on goodyfeed.com

Featured Image: GlebStock / Shutterstock.com

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