• Directory of Taiwan

Taiwan's claw game arcades grow by 15% during pandemic

Small business closures give way to rise in number of claw machine arcades

Claw game arcade in Taipei City. 

Claw game arcade in Taipei City.  (Taiwan News photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has caused small business owners to permanently shut their doors, while claw game arcades have moved into the empty stores and continue to spread all over Taiwan — except in Taipei.

Government data shows the number of claw machine arcades increased by 15.6% to over 9,500 in June compared with the same period in 2019. Their combined revenue was close to NT$5 billion (US$180 million) in the first half of 2021.

Real estate market research agencies pointed out the capital city was the only exception to this trend as a sharp rise in rental rates discouraged the opening of more claw machine arcades. Rental costs are a decisive factor in terms of operating profits.

Taipei City posted a 6% drop in the number of new claw game arcades, while there was a fall of 17.8% in revenue. Tainan City, on the other hand, recorded the highest number of new stores and increase in revenue by 24% and 36%, respectively.

Claw machine arcades, tabletop gaming stores, prawn fishing facilities, and restaurant-affiliated karaoke parlors were temporarily shuttered across the country between June and July. This was to stem the spread of infections under the nationwide Level 3 epidemic alert.

Claw game arcades began sprouting up in 2017 and recorded 9,784 stores in 2019, which was more than all the nation's 7-Eleven and other convenience store chains combined. The claw game business has become the biggest revenue source for the nation's amusement tax since 2018.

Updated : 2021-09-20 21:39 GMT+08:00