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Saturday, January 29, 2011

For Wu Chun, Health is Wealth.

Wu Chun says Fitness Zone's new branch in Serusop will open on February 13. Pictures: BT/Goh De No
Saturday, January 29, 2011
AS FITNESS Zone gears to open its newest branch in Serusop in the next few weeks, the gym is already looking towards further expansion amid strong take-up of new members.

Wu Chun, gym owner and international movie star, said Fitness Zone wouldn't hesitate to open more branches should there be demand.

Wu, who is back for his yearly Lunar New Year holiday, spoke to The Brunei Times about plans for the year and his hopes for the Sultanate.

BT: So when will Fitness Zone Serusop officially open and what are your expectations with a new branch?

Wu: The launch date is February 13, and so far, the response has been pleasantly surprising. Our members have doubled over the last year as last time, we would have about 150 a month, but now, we have around 300. So there are a lot of people coming in and we were initially shocked. Of course, there can still be a lot more but in all honesty, there's no rush. What's important is our instructors keep improving themselves. I've been sending them constantly overseas because there's a lot to see out there. I also send them articles, maybe five to six a month, so they can share with our customers as well. So with the official opening, we have quite a few promotions to go along as people will be celebrating National Day, Valentine's Day and the Lunar New Year. With that, we will focus on the gift of love, a 'buy one take one' promotion, so if you join, your partner joins for free. People who want to be healthy, usually want people around them or their partners to be healthy as well, that's what we are encouraging.

So now, there are 300 gym-goers, what happens if you get 500 by next year?

We will expand, that's not a problem. I won't ignore the fact that there's a shortage of space and try to save costs. This is important as it's for the long run for the benefit of the people here in Brunei. I really want them to look towards a healthy lifestyle. So, for example, the ground floor of Serusop is currently leased to other tenants. Should we receive overwhelming response, we will take over the ground floor in the future. As for Kiulap, we already have plans to renovate to have a bigger space and that will happen soon.

I noticed that the Serusop branch looks different from the one in Kiulap. Why?

Kiulap, as you can see, is more traditional and we wanted the Serusop gym to have a different feel. Here it's more modern, fashionable and this gives customers a fresher perspective. We've spent quite a bit on the interior design, but like I said, it's for the long term.

Fitness Zone recently expanded all the way to Shanghai as well, can you tell us about the gym there and other expansion plans?

In Shanghai, we are partnering with a gym called Tera Wellness, which is one of the biggest chains in China with almost 100 outlets. The gym is called Tera Wellness Fitness Zone and we will have another one opening this year. However, that particular gym is exclusive to China and won't be part of the expansion plans to other countries like Singapore or Sabah. We are hoping that in Sabah, we can have one open this year as people have approached us for franchising opportunities. Singapore is another area we are looking at. We are looking into that possibility. With having gyms in other countries, I want the members to be able to use the facilities in all countries. With inter-changeable members, I also hope that our instructors can do that as well to learn from each other.

Back to Brunei, is the health awareness amongst locals getting better?

Yes, definitely. With the increase of member subscriptions we believe so and I'm glad that people are aware of their health and are aiming to be fit and look good. I think a lot of this has got to do with showbusiness, there's a lot of influence there. Many Bruneians watch television and there are a lot of inspiration to make people want to get in shape and stay healthy. So in Brunei, I do believe that the perception is changing.

What else is in store for Fitness Zone?

Another thing would be the start of our Fitness Zone Charity Fund which is aimed to help various NGOs in the country. We feel that it's important to keep doing charity work as our actions can always influence someone. For example, when you do something for charity, you feel good, you're happy and that rubs off on your child or people around you. It's important to society because we are able and we can help the less-fortunate to slowly make the world a better place.

It's no secret that you've always cared about Brunei and what's happening here even though you are away, can you share a bit of what can be applied to Brunei in terms of the economy?

What I find a pity is the lack of a huge attraction. Last time with the Jerudong Park playground around, it was a selling point along with The Empire Hotel. Brunei cannot rely solely on Empire Hotel, there needs to be an international event because that attracts people over. For example, some countries will bid for F1 races or tennis tournaments. As for tourism, I am currently an ambassador for Taiwan's tourism to the Japanese and Korean market over the past three years. We do a lot of activities with the media and hold press conferences. It's all about exposure and investment. If you want to push for tourism, Brunei needs more exposure and needs investment to improve. One thing I'm really hoping for this year is direct flights between Brunei and Taiwan, that's one of the key factors for tourism, direct flights. I also hope that Brunei has a good introduction video, as I've seen a lot of tourism videos from Malaysia and Dubai, and Brunei needs one as well. I do believe, we can do it slowly and steadily.

Lastly, can you tell us about your plans for the year.

I shot a movie and a drama last year, so we will be strongly promoting this over the year. One of the main agendas is to publish a book I've written. All of the profits from the book will go to charity and this is something that I've been thinking about for two to three years, so we hope the book will be published this year.

Source: The Brunei Times
Note: News was laready published in English . No credits for translation.