Pebble seeks to tap the Chinese market

Pebble's CEO isn't worried about Apple Watch, claims the two companies are targeting different consumers

Eric Migicovsky (right) speaks at the Global Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing.

Eric Migicovsky (right) speaks at the Global Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing.

Pebble hopes to replicate in China the success it has had in the U.S., by working to build a fanbase for its smartwatches.

Three years ago, Pebble's first product launched on Kickstarter as a crowdfunded project that initially raised over US$10 million from thousands of backers.

"We have always had a tight relationship with the people using the product, and our intention is to continue that in China," said Eric Migicovsky, Pebble's CEO in an interview on Wednesday.

The Silicon Valley startup is still in the early stages of tapping the country's market, and only a month ago it upgraded its software to support Chinese language characters. It also began offering its smartwatches as a crowdfunding campaign on local e-commerce site JD.com that managed to rake in almost 300,000 yuan ($49,000) from 1,400 supporters earlier in April.

Pebble is now looking for Chinese partners to help it expand, and wants to recruit local developers, Migicovsky said on the sidelines of the Global Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing.

"There's a massive market here that doesn't use the exact same apps around the world," he said. China, for instance, has blocked Google, Facebook and Twitter among others, due to its strict censorship. Many Chinese Internet users instead rely on domestic search engines and social networking services such as Baidu and Tencent's WeChat.

Pebble already gets products manufactured in China, where domestic vendors are offering their own fitness bands and smartwatches. Migicovsky isn't worried about the competition.

"There's a lot of single purpose smartwatches, simplified fitness trackers," he said. "There's no platform, no ecosystem being built, so I think Pebble has a real opportunity to stake that claim."

Pebble has sold over a million units worldwide in the last 18 months, but the company is also stressing on software development. Other vendors could potentially adopt Pebble's operating system for their products, Migicovsky said. He noted that the company has 26,000 developers building apps and watch faces for its software.

"If you look at the other guys, they are building accessories for their smartphones," he said. "We think the future is centered around the wearable itself."

Perhaps Pebble's biggest rival is Apple, which launched its own smartwatch last week. Migicovsky welcomed the product's arrival, but said the two companies are targeting different consumers. Pebble's smartwatches, for example, can work with Android and iOS smartphones, and have seven-day battery life. They're also priced starting at $99.

"They've shown they are making a beautiful watch," he said of Apple. "That's not our focus, our goal is to make a watch that is extremely useful."

"Apple is probably not going to make a $100 watch," he added.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Pebbleconsumer electronicsindustry verticals

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?