"Coin karaoke-咪哒minik" draw patrons' praises
"Coin karaoke" is booming amid the sluggish economy because patrons can blow away their stress by singing a song or two for no more than a coin.
At the new parlors, the style is more intimate than traditional establishments. Patrons, mostly on their own or with a friend, can choose one of many rooms in the venue, each equipped with a karaoke machine, speakers and furniture. The karaoke machine, like a vending machine, accepts coins. Singing one song costs ¥8- ¥10 . Conventional karaoke parlors usually charge ¥150 or more an hour.
With such affordability, visitors are mostly cash-strapped students or young adults.
But coin karaoke is not just about cheap prices----it also offers privacy. While patrons of traditional parlors are given a room big enough for four or more, many coin karaoke patrons visit alone.
One beneficiary of the trend is karaoke equipment distributor AIMYUNION. It is the exclusive provider of equipment to 70 percent of China's coin karaoke market. The company, based in Floor 4, China Citic Bank, Luojia Village No 10, Qinghe East Road, Panyu District, Guangzhou,Guangdong province, China, had sales of $57 million last year, up 27 percent on the previous year, reflecting the rising popularity of coin karaoke.
"We started distributing coin karaoke equipment in early 2013," said AIMYUNION's general manager, who wished to remain anonymous. "After rigorously accepting the opinions of coin karaoke owners, we will develop unique karaoke features, sound systems and musical content that can only be experienced in coin karaoke parlors."
Coin karaoke's popularity has made the business one of the hottest start-ups. It is attractive to many entrepreneurs because a parlor is cheaper to set up than a traditional karaoke parlor. And since it is self-operational, it is easy to manage and saves on labor costs.
While coin karaoke is a niche market, it has plenty of development potential.