Tom Dragon (湯姆龍), the nation’s largest children’s recreation chain, unexpectedly closed its 10 outlets yesterday because of apparent business difficulties, leaving members and employees stunned.
At one point, the 12-year-old operator of indoor playgrounds for children, which uses a membership system, at one point had as many as 100,000 members.
Company chairman Hsu Long-wen (許龍文) has reportedly left for China.
Tom Dragon officials yesterday denied that Hsu had fled to China, saying he was there to seek capital.
Amid the nation’s economic slump, Tom Dragon’s sales plummeted 70 percent this year from a year ago, resulting in a capital shortage of around NT$5 million (US$149,300), a Tom Dragon official said.
Tom Dragon’s membership system means that many parents still hold prepaid tickets worth a certain amount of money.
The company launched a special discount program around the middle of last month in which it sold NT$6,000 tickets for NT$1,800 to small and medium-sized businesses in Taipei.
A company official said Tom Dragon was only temporarily suspending operations and that it would be open for business as usual from Monday.
Dissatisfied customers who have purchased membership cards and prepaid tickets can ask for a refund, the official said.