Concentrated investment has led to a boom in China’s ‘smart’ product innovation — including sex tech.
“We found a demand for smarter sex toys from our consumers, but there were no products like that out in the market,” Chunshuitang founder Lin Degang told Technode in an interview.
Chinese online sex product retailer Chunshuitang has developed a series of adult IoT products, and is now developing virtual reality related products. Mr. Lin announced earlier this year that the company invested 10 million yuan ($1.5 million USD) in R&D to get adult VR products on the shelves by June.
Established in December 22, 2002, Chunshuitang sells products in three major product categories: sex toys from online retailers and brands, health care products, and adult costumes.
The company has produced 20 in-house smart products including vibrating rings, vibrators and tools for pelvic floor exercises. These smart devices connect to smartphone apps to collect various physiological data.
“Through big data analysis, we’ll get to better understand our users’ demands and R&D new products based on their needs,” Mr. Lin says. The company’s products are now being exported to the U.S., Russia, Europe, South Korea, and Taiwan.
One of the best selling products is iball, which has become quite popular among women for post-natal recovery. Many women suffer from complications stemming from poor care after birth. The device helps train pelvic floor muscles to prevent disease by incorporating Kegel exercises with mobile games to make training more engaging. According to the company, iball and ihole (a healthcare device for the male prostate), now qualify as medical devices.
Adult Toys Enter Virtual Reality
“Sometimes couples have different desires in sex” Mr. Lin says, pointing to poor sexual communication as one factor in the rising number of divorces in China. China’s divorce rate climbed by 3.9% to 3.6 million cases in 2014 and for every four couples that married in China last year, there was one divorce.
“A virtual reality-created lover can be a good partner without having to break current relationship,” Mr. Lin says. The website currently has only one product on VR category: a VR HMD manufactured by Mojing.cn.
‘Smart Love’ Hotels Are On The Way
Chunshuitang is also seeking to develop a ‘love hotel’ chain, which will be packed with their smart sex toys and VR products. Mr. Lin hopes to pick up on the existing market of short-stay hotels that are currently common in Chinese cities.
“In 2013, China’s love hotel market grew up to 32 billion RMB size. Every day we have 1 million people buying our products online and we also wanted to serve them to our offline space,” Mr. Lin said.
The company completed a 80 million yuan (about $13 million USD) series B round of financing in March 2015. The investment was jointly led by NewMargin Ventures and Cowin Capital. According to Mr. Lin, the company plans to list locally before the end of the year.
Borrowing from the marketing strategy of Alibaba’s annual Singles Day campaign, Chunshuitang also designated June 9th as “69 sales day”.
Image Credit: Chunshuitang