Beijing firm launches mini gyms, but fitness fans struggle to see the appeal

Mini workout units offer convenience and air conditioning, but with just five in the city, they’re not easy to find

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 August, 2017, 4:41pm
UPDATED : Friday, 11 August, 2017, 5:12pm

Fitness fanatics in Beijing can now fit in a quick workout on their way to work thanks to the introduction of “mini gyms” on the city’s streets, state media reported.

At least they can if they’re lucky enough to live near one.

Developed by Beijing-based Mipao Technology, five of the gyms have been installed in eastern parts of the city, Xinhua reported on Thursday.

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Each air conditioned booth covers about five square metres and offers up to two users at a time the chance to work out on a treadmill for 0.2 yuan (3 US cents) a minute (after registering and paying a 99 yuan deposit), the report said.

The company did not say how many units it plans to install, but the report suggested that it might be struggling to extend its coverage due to the high cost of producing them.

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The mini gyms received a mixed reaction online.

A Beijing-based Weibo user said he would quite like to try them, but “five booths are not enough for Beijing, there are too many people here.”

“I would rather go to a real gym as they have better facilities,” said a person from east China’s Jiangsu province, also on Weibo, who added that he had calculated it would cost about 1,600 yuan a year to use the mini gyms.

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Other people bemoaned the lack of shower facilities and said the gyms were hard to find due to inaccurate GPS data.