Tue, Jul 03, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Taichung owners call for karaoke booth regulations

By Chang Hsuan-che, Huang Chung-shan and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Two men use a karaoke booth in Taichung on Sunday.

Photo: Chang Hsuan-che, Taipei Times

Taichung businesses and officials have expressed the need for government regulations on karaoke booths that have popped up in the commercial district surrounding Taichung First Senior High School.

Today’s consumers have diverse needs, said Lin Yu-lan (林幽蘭), the director of planning at Pacific Department Store’s Fengyuan (豐原) Mall, which in May installed a karaoke booth.

If people want to relieve stress after school or work, all they need to do is close the doors of the booth — which is 1 ping (3.3m2) and fits a maximum of four people — to shut themselves away from the world, she said.

“Inside a small space, they can enjoy the thrill of singing on stage,” she added.

Karaoke booths became popular in Japan several years ago, said a karaoke booth owner also surnamed Lin (林), who has set up four karaoke booths in the city’s North District (北區) commercial area.

China and Southeast Asian nations then caught onto the trend, before Taiwan last year began seeing karaoke booths emerge, they said.

A karaoke booth costs between NT$200,000 and NT$300,000, while users are charged NT$30 to NT$50 per song, they added.

One karaoke booth generates about NT$30,000 to NT$80,000 in revenue per month, they said.

They had wanted to expand the operation to the commercial district surrounding Fengchia Night Market (逢甲夜市) in Situn District (西屯), they said, but the booth was classified as an audiovisual and singing service and fined.

They said they hope that the government can find an appropriate way to regulate karaoke booths to allow the emerging industry to grow.

The Taichung City Government plans to regulate karaoke booths in the same way it would a regular karaoke business, Taichung City councilors Chang Yao-chung (張耀中) and Cheng Kung-chin (鄭功進) said.

According to the regulations, audiovisual and singing services cannot operate within 200m of a school, the councilors said, adding that the karaoke booths in the commercial district near Taichung First Senior High School are clearly contravening the regulations.

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