The day the music died
Updated: 2015-02-06 07:35
By Sun Yuanqing and Yang Moziyan(China Daily)
Cashbox Party World's Chaoyangmen flagship branch is closed. Photo provided to China Daily
For Gao Weiguo, a 35-year-old who works in the IT industry, a karaoke bar is where he spent his free time when he was in his 20s. He would go there with his colleagues during lunch breaks and with his friends on weekends.
KTV attracts not only the ordinary workers, but also the celebrities. Gao recalls bumping into movie stars from time to time. The karaoke bars used to provide free buffets, which were another big draw for the customers. A frequent visitor to KTV bars 10 years ago, he rarely goes to them anymore.
"There were not many leisure choices back then," Gao says. "No board games or social network. When we needed to socialize, we went to the KTV. They started to charge for the buffet in 2008－and we got other, new places to go.".
For Gao's generation, KTV studios are places filled with memories. However, several established KTV clubs in Beijing have shut down lately because of falling revenues, according to Chinese media.
Most recently, Cashbox Party World, a major KTV chain, closed its flagship Chaoyangmen branch, leaving only one of its clubs in Beijing. The company has also closed some outlets in Shanghai.
The branch in Chaoyangmen closed on Feb 1. Old customers reportedly crowded the place on the last night.
Cashbox is not the only KTV that is cutting down its business. Melody and Yuesheng Party Life have also been paring down. Yuesheng Party Life declined to comment on the closures, and Cashbox didn't respond to interview requests.
Low profits and rental disputes have been cited as the reasons for the closure in Cashbox's notice to its staff in the Chaoyangmen branch. A staff member at the remaining branch of the Cashbox says the outlets were closed because of competition from its rivals.
"People still come to KTV, but there are so many other brands now," she says.