Photo via Beijing Evening News
Once the first choice of entertainment for the country's youth, karaoke venues, or KTV bars are now becoming the favored hangout for China's elderly. Most of Beijing's KTVs are occupied by grey-haired crooners in the daytime, Beijing Evening News reported on Monday.
As a popular indoor amusement in Asia, KTV used to be crowded with young people, especially during evenings and weekends. Therefore, most KTVs are closed in the daytime, as they make no money.
However, in recent years, challenged by mini karaoke booths and mobile singing apps, KTVs have gone through difficult times. In order to keep revenue up, they have started offering a range of preferential deals, including providing daytime discount sessions to attract older customers.
Carrying thermal flasks and bags of fruit and snacks, the elderly often go to KTVs after shopping at morning fairs, spending the rest of the day there singing, dancing and having a good gossip.
Songs of nostalgia are Tian Hua's favorite, as well as some popular new songs. Once or twice a week, the 58-year-old lady and her friends will catch up at a KTV in Beijing's Fengtai District. "It is now the older generation's turn to sing," Tian said.
Huang Weihua, manager of two KTV bars in Chaoyang District, changed some of the areas in his KTVs into a "ballroom style" to attract older people. Huang said although it's hard to make a profit from older people, they can bring in customers.
According to Huang, for most KTVs in Beijing, during time periods with the biggest discounts, two-thirds of the customers are elderly citizens, while students make up the other third of daytime clients.
China has a large aging population. The number of people over 60 reached 16.7 percent of the total population at the end of 2016, and by 2030 this will hit about 25 percent.
Elderly Chinese enjoy spending intimate time with their friends, as in many cases, sons and daughters have moved away from home to work in other booming cities.
To offer more recreational choices for senior citizens, a program called "Sunshine Entertainment, Sunset Glow" was launched in the country last year.
More than 200 entertainment firms in 23 provincial regions joined the program, which offers free or discounted recreational activities such as daytime karaoke to people over 50, benefiting millions of seniors.