On 19 May (Wed), popular Japanese KTV chain Karaoke Manekineko broke news on its official Facebook page that all its outlets in Singapore had been closed since 5 May.
"KARAOKE MANEKINEKO would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude and thanks to all customers who give supports [sic] to us," said the KTV's management team in its announcement.
The karaoke chain's outlets were well-known for their adorable interiors which featured their iconic cat mascot. They also offered free-flow drinks and snacks to their patrons at prices as low as $5 per pax.
Karaoke Manekineko is owned by KTV entertainment provider Koshidaka Singapore, which opened its first KBOX outlet in 2002 at Choa Chu Kang's Lot 1. It's since opened another eight outlets at the following locations in Singapore: Orchard Cineleisure, *SCAPE, Bugis+, Marina Square, Lucky Chinatown, SAFRA Jurong, SAFRA Punggol, Tampines 1.
In 2020, Karaoke Manekineko started selling e-vouchers that customers could purchase and redeem later on its official Lazada store. It also participated in the e-commerce platform's monthly flash sales, offering discounts of up to 15% on its 'pre-buy, use later' vouchers.
Loyal customers of the KTV chain took to social media to express their sadness at the closure of its business. Many recounted stories of the good memories they had celebrating special occasions with friends and family at Karaoke Manekineko's chains.
However, many were also confused by what seemed to be a delayed announcement by the KTV chain regarding the closures. The post, which was uploaded on their Facebook page on 19 May, stated that it was "going to close down" all outlets on 5 May, two weeks prior. We have reached out to Karaoke Manekineko seeking clarification.
While no reasons were given for its closures, it is evident that COVID-19 restrictions on live singing and many other forms of entertainment have hit KTV outlets hard.
Earlier this year, another popular local karaoke chain Teo Heng KTV bade farewell to its customers and announced it was winding up and exiting the industry after 31 years.
In fact, since the pandemic began last year, most karaoke outlets have not been allowed to operate as before. Thus, many KTV joints including Karaoke Manekineko have not opened its doors to patrons for more than a year now.
Despite the sad news, Karaoke Manekineko ended its announcement on a hopeful note hinting at a possible reopening after these tough pandemic times.
"It's not goodbye, it's until we meet again," said the KTV chain.