Taiwan has the second-highest concentration of convenience stores of any country in the world. President Chain Store Corp (PCSC), which operates the 7-Eleven convenience store franchise in Taiwan, currently has 400 stores which do not open 24 hours, 365 days a year. Rival franchise FamilyMart has announced individual stores, which are experiencing special difficulties operating through the night, will be given a degree of flexibility to adjust their opening hours. Meanwhile Hi-Life International says its stores located within industrial or technology parks will be allowed to close on Sundays.
According to the Web site Distribution News, at the end of 2017 there were a total of 10,662 convenience stores in operation across Taiwan. This translates to an average of one store for every 2,211 persons. In this respect, Taiwan is second only to South Korea and ahead of Japan.
However, Taiwan shares a common problem with Japan: all of its industries are currently facing labor shortages. General manager of PCSC Huang Jui-tien last week announced that 400 of the 5,300 7-Eleven stores it operates nationwide currently do not open 24 hours a day. Huang said franchisees are able to submit an application to implement flexible opening hours, which is granted by head office so long as they can provide reasonable justification for doing so.
Photo courtesy of President Chain Store Corp
As of the end of February this year, PCSC’s biggest competitor, FamilyMart, has 3,357 stores nationwide. The company says it has always allowed some of its stores to use curtailed operating hours.
FamilyMart says that, when deciding whether a store should maintain 24-hour operation, there are a large number of factors to take into consideration. The company says it constantly monitors any changes to customers’ definition of “convenience” as well as their nocturnal needs. FamilyMart says it continues to explore a range of methods designed to efficiently satisfy customers’ demands, including developing tools to facilitate online shopping and testing a new home delivery service.
FamilyMart says that the greatest challenge currently faced by franchises is a shortage of labor. The company is providing support, last year opening a human resource recruitment center that helps franchisees find suitable staff to fill vacancies. The center also assists by providing training for new part-time staff, helping franchise managers to cultivate and retain talent. Head office is also currently testing a new system designed to parachute in staff at short notice in an emergency when franchises are unexpectedly left short-staffed. The company has 2,000 members of backup staff that can be deployed to provide assistance.
Photo: Lin Hsin-jo, Liberty Times
Hi-Life currently has 1,339 stores nationwide, of which 20 percent are not open 24 hours. The primary factor for consideration is whether the store is located within a shopping district or similar type of specially-designated area, such as a school or a military camp or within a factory complex. Within one of these areas, if there are special operating hours, or there is a significant variance in footfall between weekdays and weekends, stores are allowed to adjust their opening hours accordingly.
(Translated by Edward Jones, Taipei Times)
Questions (true or false)
1. Second only to Japan, Taiwan has the highest concentration of convenience stores per capita of any country in the world.
2. Franchisees of all three convenience store brands are given a large amount of freedom to set their own opening hours.
3. One-fifth of of Hi-Life convenience stores currently do not open 24 hours a day.
4. The biggest problem facing convenience stores in Taiwan is a shortage of labor.
5. FamilyMart now offers a home delivery service at all of its stores.
(Edward Jones, Taipei Times)
1. a degree of phr.
適度 (shi4 du4)
2. flexibility n.
彈性 (tan2 xing4)
3. opening hours phr.
(ying2 ye4 shi2 jian1)
4. labor shortages phr.
(ren2 li4 que1 kou3)
5. franchisee n.
(jia1 meng2 zhe3)
6. franchise n.
(jia1 meng2 dian4)
7. short-staffed phr.
(ren2 shou3 bu4 zu2)
8. footfall n.
來客 (lai2 ke4)
Taiwanese high-school student Hsu Tzu-han has been reunited with her childhood Indonesian carer, Duwi, 15 years after they last saw each other. The two reconnected via a video messaging social media platform. Duwi, who lives in Surakarta city, known colloquially as Solo in Indonesia, worked as Hsu’s grandmother’s carer between 2000 and 2004. While Hsu was a first-year kindergarten student, Duwi’s employment contract came to an end, and she had to return to Indonesia. On Hsu’s fourth birthday, Duwi gave her a teddy bear as a birthday present. However, Duwi says she didn’t say goodbye to Hsu when she left Taiwan
Taiwan is celebrating the anniversary of the same-sex marriage bill, which officially took effect on May 24 last year. According to Ministry of the Interior statistics, a total of 4,021 same-sex couples had married as of May. Last Friday, the Rainbow Equality Platform released an opinion poll about Taiwanese’s attitude toward same-sex marriage. Among the respondents, 92.8 percent said same-sex marriage does not affect them personally, and 50.1 percent of them said such union does not affect Taiwan’s society. However, 74.1 percent of them said it is acceptable to see straight couples kissing in the street; the figure dropped to 48.2
Faced with the COVID-19 crisis, the creative South Korean showbiz has tried to resume activities in alternative ways. SM Entertainment has been working with Naver’s V Live to launch a series of shows through the K-pop live video streaming service, allowing entertainers to broadcast live on the platform and chat with their fans. For the shows, titled “Beyond Live,” SM has employed “augmented reality” (AR) technology in the background created by real-time augmented 3D graphics, while simultaneously providing interactive communication online. Some fans said that the online shows are more fun than real concerts, because they can chat and interact
Astronomers believe they may have found the first direct evidence of a new planet being born. A dense disc of dust and gas has been spotted surrounding a young star called AB Aurigae, about 520 light years away from Earth. Using the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT), located in Chile, the researchers observed a spiral structure with a “twist” near the center, which suggests a new world may be in the process of forming. The swirling disc was one of the telltale signs of the star system being born in the constellation of Auriga, the scientists said.