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KTV Industry Falls On Hard Times As The Young Find Entertainment Elsewhere

Posted: 09/15/2014 1:27 pm

partyworld karaokeRenting an opulent private karaoke room to croon along to your favorite Mandopop covers may soon become a thing of the past.

The Beijing karaoke industry has fallen on hard times as many large-scale locations are closing due to an ongoing price war that is compounded with rising costs and declining interest.

Once home to 12 karaoke chains that offered customers features like opulent rooms and buffet meals, Beijing has seen the closure of multiple karaoke locations while those that remain operate at only 50 percent capacity.

Partyworld is the latest to be hit. It has closed two branches including its marquee location, and now just has one left. Lesheng has closed its Zhongguancun and Guomao locations, reducing its presence to just Chongwenmen, while Melody has closed its Chaoyangmen location.

partyworld karaoke

A report by the Beijing Youth Daily provides three reasons for the hard times encountered by the industry, colloquially named “KTV” in China.

First, rising costs have made operating a private room karaoke facility difficult. Rent is estimated to have risen 30 to 40 percent, while employee salaries have increased by 20 to 25 percent.

Secondly, karaoke has not attracted a younger generation of customers amid the rise in popularity of the internet, social media, and piracy.

And lastly, government controls have hampered the operations of karaoke facilities.

melody karaoke

An employee working the front counter at the Sound of Music karaoke explains that the industry is competing with itself to extreme limits:

There’s no way (to do business). In Chaoyangmenwai, all the karaoke lounges are grouped together, all together there are over ten, of course there’s going to be a price bidding war between these branches. Sometimes, we would rather not make any money, but instead gain the popularity from heavy traffic.

The Asian concept of a private room to perform karaoke is far from the communal approach adopted by the West, which hosts singing nights at neighborhood bars. But with the decline of Chinese-style KTV, perhaps the only place left to belt out your favorite tunes will be in the shower.

partyworld karaoke

Photos: 66diqiu, wumii, 0735, lyh8

  • Daniel McDermott

    Or perhaps the industry needs to correct itself, like every other business that becomes popular in China. Because a KTV bar did well on one street, 10 more open next door, and eventually many of them fail because profits dry up, and later just 1 or 2 will remain, as it should be.

    • Hanfeizi

      Yes, this could just be a consequence of oversupply.

  • Toothless

    Because the side show attractions inside KTV have been stomped on by the police. Only in major cities, the rest of china is still booming.

    • Toothless


  • Truthful

    Let’s hope that all these tacky, seedy establishments go out of business.

    What a stupid, lame way to spend an evening.

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