Virgin Active announced plans to significantly increase its presence in South East Asia. It will do so by investing, from existing resources, up to £150 million (roughly $217 million) in the region.
According to a press release by Virgin Active, the company intends to open up to 20 clubs in Thailand, and eight to nine clubs in Singapore. There are currently three Virgin Active clubs open in Thailand and one in Singapore, with two additional locations under construction in each country.
“The resounding success of our first four clubs in Thailand and Singapore has exceeded our own high expectations and we feel that the time is now right to accelerate our expansion plans for Southeast Asia,” said Matthew Bucknall the founder of Virgin Active, in the press release. “The global health and fitness industry is evolving rapidly, with many of the current Asia health club offerings being outdated first generation, fitness only formats. Along with opening more of our unique large premium clubs, we are also looking at exciting new formats to offer something for everyone.”
According to Virgin Active, the company’s operators believe that the Asian markets are set to evolve in a similar way to the more developed health club markets in the U.S., U.K. and Australia. In addition to Thailand and Singapore, Virgin Active is also exploring expansion in other key Asian markets.
“Asia offers a major opportunity for our brand and product to expand and develop,” continued Bucknall. “Growing consumer awareness of the importance of health and fitness coupled with rapidly rising wealth will drive demand for our health clubs. We believe our unique state of the art clubs will transform the region’s fitness market appealing to a new way of brand conscious consumers.”
In July 2015, Virgin Active was acquired by the investment holding company Brait in a transaction valuing Virgin Active at £1.3 billion. In addition, Sir Richard Branson, one of the company’s key shareholders, late last year unveiled plans to bring the number of new Australian clubs up to 14, taking its total number to around 20.