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Nike’s running app to stop service in China next month, following similar moves by Airbnb and Kindle

South China Morning Post logo South China Morning Post 08/06/2022 Coco Feng
  • Nike's decision comes just months after Beijing implemented two new laws which affect apps collecting personal data in China and the export of such data overseas
  • The Nike Run Club app has more than 8 million registered users in China with a combined jogging record of 600 million kilometres, according to the company

Nike's running and working out app, Nike Run Club (NRC), has informed mainland Chinese users that it will end the service in the country next month, a move that follows similar announcements in China from Kindle, Airbnb and LinkedIn.

NRC, along with the Nike Training Club (NTC) app, notified mainland Chinese users on Wednesday that they would halt operations as of July 8 "due to business reasons".

While Nike did not provide further details on why it was stopping the services, the decision comes just months after Beijing implemented two new laws, the Personal Information Protection Law and Data Security Law, which affect apps collecting personal data in China and the export of such data overseas.

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Meanwhile, China's sports tracking app market is very competitive, with many apps jostling for users. Keep, a Chinese sports tracking app that is applying for a public listing in Hong Kong, said it has a user base of 300 million with 34.4 million monthly active users in 2021.

The Nike apps, designed to track exercise activity and sell Nike sportswear, asked users to export their personal information and sports data to other devices. The company also offered to help cancel membership accounts upon request.

A mini-app version of NTC would remain operational on WeChat, the super-app operated by Tencent Holdings that supports in-app programmes without downloading, Nike said. NRC will continue providing coaching instructions and will support community jogging and large events, one of the company posts said.

A Nike representative said in a statement on Wednesday that the company was "creating an ecosystem from China for China" through its "continued investment", noting that the company has been "investing in China for 40 years".

NRC has more than 8 million registered users in China with a combined jogging record of 600 million kilometres, according to the post.

The move by Nike follows in the footsteps of other Western internet and consumer giants that have retreated from the mainland China market.

Amazon.com's Kindle announced last week that it would close its China e-book service next year. Airbnb will end support for China-based travel listings from July 30 to focus on outbound tourism, while professional social media platform LinkedIn closed its main app in the country last year, while launching a new app without a social feed.

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This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.

Copyright (c) 2022. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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