Two girls play the role of pilots at KizCiti in District 4, Ho Chi Minh City / PHOTO COURTESY OF TUOI TRE
Investors in children's entertainment services said they are doing well and are confident the market would grow since Vietnam has some 20 million children aged under 15.
A spokesperson for N KID Corporation, which owns 20 tiNiWorld education and entertainment complexes across the country, said around 100,000 children visit them every month, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported.
The complexes, measuring from 300 to 2,500 square meters, are situated in Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Duong, Hai Phong, and Da Nang.
Last year it got 800,000 customers, a four-fold increase over 2011, and earned VND36 billion (US$1.7 million) in admission fees alone.
N KID hopes to get one million people past its turnstiles this year, Tuoi Tre reported.
Le Quang Hung, director general of Thai Duong Consulting and Investment Joint-stock Company, or HELIKO, owner of KizCiti, which reproduces interactive "workplaces" for kids, said around 1,000 children aged between three and 15 come every week for role-playing 30 different jobs ranging from doctors to farmers.
Hung said when KizCiti was launched at the end of 2011, shareholders were prepared to take losses for a few years, but the 20,000-square-meter area in District 4, HCMC, quickly became popular.
Last year they got more than 200,000 kids, he said without revealing his company's turnover.
But Tuoi Tre did the math: with admission costing VND180,000 on weekdays and VND220,000 during weekends and other holidays and adults having to pay VND20,000 to enter, KizCiti earns at least VND7 billion ($332,000) a month in ticket sales alone.
In May Thoi bao Kinh te Saigon Online (Saigon Times) quoted a market research company as saying that the Vietnamese market for entertainment services for kids aged up to 12 is worth $700 million a year.
Hung said his company plans to open a KizCiti in Hanoi soon, but stressed that the market in HCMC has room for a lot more growth.
Around a fourth of last year's customers, or 50,000 children, visited KizCiti more than 80 times, he said.
The numbers account for only a fraction of the city's child population, he said, referring to the obvious potential for growth.
The N KID spokesperson told Tuoi Tre about plans to rent space in 10 Co.op Mart supermarket outlets for tiNiWorld complexes.
Nguyen Que Anh, director general of HimLam Vietnamese Kid Intelligence Development Joint-stock Company, said their children's entertainment and education complex Vietopia would open in December in HCMC's District 7.
To cost more than $25 million, the three-hectare complex will offer 100 different role-playing activities related to 70 vocations.
Anh said the market for children's entertainment and vocational services is "totally promising" in HCMC, where 2,500 schools do not have proper playgrounds.
In fact, for years the media and parents have complained about the general lack of playing spaces for children, leaving them bored during the summer holidays.
According to official figures, there were only around 5,100 playgrounds in the whole of Vietnam in 2011.
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