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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Cheaper admission for landmark venue

By Raymond Zhou and Zhang Yuchen  (China Daily)

08:40, November 18, 2011

The National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing has been a key venue for live performances since it opened in late December 2007. It is sometimes also called the national theater and the egg. (China Daily)

Television personality Bai Yansong ascended the stage recently at the National Center for the Performing Arts and appealed for lower ticket prices. He didn't realize at the time that his audience had benefited from such a plan.

Ticket prices for that day's one-hour program, mostly Mozart, were just 40 yuan ($6.30), or 10 yuan for members who had paid annual fees. That means a visitor could tour this new landmark plus indulge in the pleasures of the performing arts for about half the cost of a regular movie ticket.

From its opening in December 2007 through September, the center hosted 4,000 such events to bring various performing arts to the masses. Some 1.5 million people attended them without breaking their bank account.

But tickets for most live performances in Beijing and other Chinese cities cost considerably more. They defy basic economic theory, which dictates that price is determined by supply and demand. In China's live show market, other forces are at work.

Many tickets are priced with a string of eights, a lucky number in Chinese superstition - 880, 1,880 and so on. A record was set early this year when a box seat for a Shaanxi opera went for 8,000 yuan.

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