MyFitnessPal Moves Into Asia With Localized Apps For China, Japan, And Korea

MyFitnessPal, a nutrition and fitness startup that says it now has more than 50 million registered users, is announcing the last big piece in its international expansion.

The company launched its first international apps back in June of last year, and this week, it released versions in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. Co-founder Mike Lee told me that this brings the total to 14 languages.

“We will be adding additional languages, but we’ve really handled the core set,” Lee said, adding that the focus now will be on “continuing to execute and grow the user base.”

Even before the current international push, MyFitnessPal was already available in other countries, and it already has an audience in Asia, albeit one that’s “not nearly as large as we’d like,” Lee said. However, when the company launches a localized app, it isn’t just translated into the local language; it also uses local units of measurement and includes data about local foods.

Lee said that while each country has its own cultural nuances, he sees a big opportunity in each. For example, even though China, Japan, and Korea have different obesity rates, “The trend lines are all in the wrong direction,” so something like MyFitnessPal (which allows users to track the calories they eat and share that data with friends) can help.

Asked if he had big plans for marketing the app in new countries, Lee replied, “We’ve found that when you deliver a great product and something that helps people actually be healthier, then they’ll talk about it, and that’s how we’ve grown since day one.”

By the way, the company released a study yesterday that found that social sharing does help with weight loss, and it announced that it’s integrating step tracking data from the iPhone 5S.