The rise and fall of scalped Faye Wong concert tickets
The collapse in astronomical ticket prices for a Shanghai concert by pop queen Faye Wong has again highlighted the scourge of scalping on the mainland.
When promoters first announced on December 5 that Wong, 47, would be holding her first concert in six years in Shanghai this Friday, the tickets were priced at 1,800 yuan (HK$2,000), 5,800 yuan and 7,800 yuan each.
The tickets were sold out within minutes on a designated online platform but an unknown number became available through touts and scalping websites.
Shanghai-based Dragon TV reported that one site was offering VIP tickets for 599,999 yuan each.
But the prices suddenly dropped back to the original level last week, and ticketing websites showed there were still plenty of empty seats to fill, the report said.
The 7,800 yuan tickets are now going for 6,666 yuan each on ticketing website Xishiqu.com.
“Because of the sky-high prices listed on some websites, some consumers have lost interest in buying,” the report quoted Li Mingwei, founder of Xishiqu.com, as saying.
Some mainland media questioned the practice of allowing only a small number of tickets for a concert to go on sale to the public. These tickets are usually snapped up in a few minutes, creating the impression of huge demand. But many tickets are often held for insiders, ending up in the hands of scalpers.
Zhuang Ming, director of concert organiser White Magnolia, said only about 800 of the 8,900 tickets were sold directly to the public, entertainment news outlet Yuleguan001 reported on Thursday. The rest were given to sponsors or sold to the “friends and family” of Wong and other insiders, Zhuang said. “We have no way to intervene in how they handle the tickets,” Zhuang was quoted as saying. “They can give them away or resell them.”
On the mainland, ticket touts, or “yellow cows”, have also raised the prices of tickets for trains, theme parks and even doctors’ appointments.
Beijing has vowed to eliminate ticket-scalping in the country’s overcrowded hospitals but the practice is still common.
After tickets for Shanghai Disneyland went on sale in March, scalpers charged up to 3,400 yuan extra for a 499 yuan ticket.
But as demand dropped after the theme park’s opening, scalpers outside the park lowered the price to 500 yuan – just one yuan more than the official price.