China

Starting Point

In September 2011, SCRAP Entertainment and a Japanese agency called BadNews, held the very first escape game called “Escape from the Werewolf Village” in MaoLivehouse, Shanghai. The game was mostly solving riddles on paperwork, and it didn’t have a real ROOM to escape. In 2012, room escape games started popping out. Shanghai, Hangzhou and Wuhan were the first cities to hold these events.

How many companies are there in the industry? How is the competition going?

According to statistics, there are over 3,000 room escape companies throughout the whole China, and Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, Guangzhou and Hangzhou are among the biggest. A Chinese company called 1987 (a famous high-tech props supplier for room escape games) listed out the numbers of China’s first tier cities and second tier cities in an article “The Market Expectation Analysis of Year 2016

Quantity Sold more than 1,000 tickets/month Ticket price more than 100rmb per person

Beijing

121 28 5

Shanghai

109 7 2

Guangzhou

69 19 2
Chongqing 59 28

1

Hangzhou 39 17

0

Wuhan 76 38

0

Qingdao 30 8

0

The article has also divided room escape companies into Basic level, Mid-end level and High-end level, and has roughly listed the business model of different levels (unit below are all in rmb):

investment Rent/ month Personnel costs/ month Ticket Price/ person Customers/ day Revenue/ day Revenue/ month break even point
High-end level

3,000,000

50,000 20,000 120 80人 9,600 288,000 14 months
Mid-end level 500,000 20,000 10,000 80 50人 4,000 120,000

6 months

Basic level 200,000 10,000 6,000 40 40人 1,600 48,000

7 months

There are over 10 brand that owns numerous chain stores over the nation:

Number of chain store

MR-X

16

STAR-ROOM

22

無間密室 (wujian)

68

冰點密室 (bingdian)

18

第九街區 (The Ninth Street)

49
密室工廠 (Escape Factory)

37

異次元密室脫逃 (It’s Young)

28

顛九宮密室脫逃(Crazy Cube)

32

MC密室脫逃 (MC escape)

21

奧秘之家(OME Escape)

29

奇門密室(Secret Room)

19

Consumer behavior

Most players are ranged between the age of 18-30, and are mostly office workers and students, usually coming in a group of 4-10 people. They will go to sites such as Dianping or Nuomi to check for appraise, these websites collect thousands of comments for each theme. Some players choose to join the WeChat or QQ group chat where they can ask for advice or even team up with other people (mostly strangers). As for buying tickets, mostly players will use Taobao or similar group-buy sites. Very few escape room company has their own booking system.

Three interesting facts 

  • Good division of work throughout industry

Being the biggest country with the most population, China has a way bigger market than other countries, resulting to the fact that industries will grow more mature and faster. Good division of work started showing a few years back, from theme design, scene design, interior construction, prop design to chain store opening, each step can be provided by experts, and you can find over 20 suppliers on Taobao that provide different services, or even provide books with escape room design tutorial! So, it isn’t hard to have your own room escape store as long as you have enough money, but it’s much more difficult to maintain good business with such a low barriers to entry.

  • Good performance on hi-tech theme

The mid-end and high-end room escape games in China, you seldom see passcode locks in the scene, it will all be equipped with hi-tech machine instead. Electromagnets, magnet-activate props and RFID sensors are basics for these games, even some basic level room escape games will use one or two hi-tech props.

  • Franchises in shopping malls

Room escape games have become more and more popular among shopping malls recent years. Room escape games in big shopping malls can earn up to 2-5 million(rmb) a year, turning it to become the best-selling shop in the mall. Other than that, room escape games play an important role in many factors of shopping mall business. It can create differentiation between shopping malls, bring unique features, bring fame and most importantly bring more young customers to the mall. This is why nowadays most shopping malls will rent higher floors of the mall or locations that are harder to access to room escape stores, that way they can save the useless areas and bring in more customers.

 

SEE ALSO: A Look at China’s Room Escape Company analyze the future of the industry

References
1. 911密室脫逃:我国真人密室逃脱游戏发展状况与前景分析 -2017.02.08
(911 Room Escape: the development and expectation of room escape games in our nation )
2. 贏商網:我们都低估了密室在购物中心的“赚钱能力” -2017.02.09
(We have all underestimated the profit room escape industries bring to shopping malls)
3. 真人密室逃脱屋创业前景探究 -2015.05
(The research of room escape gaming industries and its future development)
4. 密室逃脱有多火,2016年市场前景分析最新出炉 -2016-06-22
(How room escape games are so popular, the latest analysis of market expectation of year 2016)
5. 大眾點評(上海密室排行榜) (Dianping Website :Room escape rankings of Shanghai)
6. 百度糯米 (Baidu Nuomi Website)

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