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Off the couch and into the gym


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The company’s portfolio, under the brand name Matrix, includes high-tech treadmills, ascent trainers, steppers, exercise bicycles, and rowing machines – everything imaginable for a modern, comprehensively equipped fitness studio. “We have muscle-training equipment, apparatus for cardio workouts, just about everything you can think of,” underlines Commercial Director David Van Poucke.

Where Health Tech really makes a difference is that it sells not only the machines, but also undertakes installation and offers a comprehensive advisory service. “The fitness studio market is our main source of income,” continues Mr. Van Poucke. “It is incredibly important that we are present for our big clients and that we offer them a full advisory service so that they are always up to date with the latest products and understand how to use them. We organize training groups and try to integrate Health Tech’s worldwide activities to support our own clients. I want it to be clear to our clients that Matrix delivers not only top-class machines but also a very strong after-sales service.”

Business is currently booming. Fitness studio chains are opening up to 50 new establishments every year in France, resulting in a very profitable few years for Health Tech France. “The new studios motivate the French people to undertake more sport, and that is great for us,” smiles Mr. Van Poucke. “We retain our customers by forming strong partnerships. In addition to the advisory service, our technicians also visit clients once a month to check that the equipment is still in optimal working order.”

The firm turns over around 50 million EUR per year, with clients in the hotel and medical sectors – doctors’ practices for example – as well as the fitness studios. Established 13 years ago, Johnson Health Tech France is a subsidiary of the Johnson Health Group which was founded more than 43 years ago by a Taiwanese family which still owns the group.

From its origins as a small manufacturer producing apparatus for muscle training for the local market, the firm quickly grew, and took a decision to move its commercial operation to the US. Today, strategic and commercial decisions, marketing, sales and research are carried out to a large extent in the US, whilst production is based in Shanghai and Taiwan and works in very close collaboration with business management in the US.

The firm is present in 60 countries around the world, through its own 20 branches and many distributors. In Europe, Johnson Health Tech has branches the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and France.

“In the 13 years that we have been operating here in France, we have achieved a great deal,” stresses Mr. Van Poucke. “We sell top-quality, high-tech equipment and we have developed a very strong service to support our products, not only in after-sales, but also through our logistics and the financing service which is available to clients.”

The Commercial Director ensures the French subsidiary is well placed to leverage the global benefits of the group. “I communicate with Taiwan and Shanghai in relation to the products, and I am constantly in discussion with marketing managers in the US; together with my marketing team, we implement the American-led strategies here in France.”

The future potential for Health Tech France looks extremely promising. “The trend is good,” confirms the Commercial Director. “People are generally more active and increasingly choose to take part in sport of some kind. It is more well-recognized than ever today that it is not healthy to sit at work in an office without doing some form of exercise. We work very closely with cardiologists, and the facts speak for themselves; many people over 60 have health problems because of their longterm sedentary lifestyle.”

The fitness centers of today are unrecognizable from the basic treadmills, bicycles and rowing machines which were the norm just 20 years ago. “Fitness apparatus is fitted out with increasingly sophisticated technologies,” says Mr. Van Poucke. “Performance reports, training tutorials, and many more options are available to enhance the user experience. Nevertheless, the human factor will never change, nor will the fundamentals of good exercise, and we will continue to combine all these elements, with people as our focus.”