Spa and fitness equipment distributor Dynaforce has entered into a joint venture with its principal, Italy-based Starpool, to create an Asian business unit aimed at growing Starpool's footprint across the region, especially in fast-growing markets such as China.

Starpool Asia, based in Singapore, will be managed by Dynaforce, which will appoint distributors and dealers in Asia.

"We see this as another natural progression in our business journey - to go from being a distributor to being a principal," said Dynaforce chief executive Annie Sun.

She added that years of experience acting as a distributor put Dynaforce in a good position to understand the needs of its partners.

Dynaforce will still continue to distribute Starpool products through its own business but the joint venture will also allow it greater access to Asia as Starpool builds up its business.

The spa business in Asia is growing on the back of the increasing demand from condominiums, residences, fitness clubs and hotels, especially as wellness becomes an increasing priority, she added. "People love to be pampered."

The group eventually expects its spa business to overtake its fitness business, which currently contributes some $15-20 million in revenue per year. Within the next three years, Ms Sun expects its spa business to contribute $20 million to Dynaforce's topline, partly on the back of a wider distribution and dealership network.

In 2006, Dynaforce took up the distributorship for Italian fitness brand Technogym - Starpool's sister brand - giving it exclusive rights to sell the products to hotels, residences and gyms in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. When it was first established in 1989, Dynaforce was distributing a range of equipment, largely from brands in the US and Taiwan. But when it landed the distributorship for Technogym, it made a strategic decision to focus fully on a high-end brand, rather than juggle several mass market brands.

Tying up with Technogym also meant that Dynaforce could focus on expanding outside of Singapore and into less mature markets such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

Here in Singapore, its list of clients include Fitness First and Marina Bay Sands.

Two years ago, Dynaforce decided to diversify its portfolio by adding spa equipment from Starpool to the mix, as more hotels and fitness clubs sought to create an all-round health and wellness experience. "We started out in the spa business by focusing on the home market," said Ms Sun. Its range includes a one-stop home spa system which incorporates a steam room, a shower, ambient lighting as well as aromatherapy.

"This year, after gaining experience in the home spa business, we started to aggressively pursue high-end commercial spa projects," she continued.

These include fitting out the spa at the Mulia Hotel in Bali, and the spa at Virgin Active's first health club in Singapore. In addition, it secured the hospitality spa project for the Solis Hotel in Nanjing, China, which is managed by the Capella group.

Next on the agenda is Virgin Active's upcoming health club in Bangkok, with the group providing both the spa and gym equipment. Dynaforce is also in talks with Starwood Hotels and Resorts with regard to other upcoming hotel projects in China.

Ms Sun eventually hopes to grow Dynaforce's overseas operations to rival its business in Singapore within the next three years. Today, Singapore accounts for about 60-70 per cent of its sales.

"If you just look at the hospitality segment (overseas), there is a need to build more hotels. And they have the space. In Singapore, space is limited," she pointed out.

Recently, Dynaforce has set up new showrooms in Jakarta and Phuket, and plans to establish one in Bali. In addition, it is looking to set up representative offices in China and Australia for the new joint venture.

Investments in its showrooms tend to range from $250,000 to $500,000.

The group currently has about 100 employees across its four markets but is planning to hire more staff to support Starpool Asia.