Real-name registration upgraded to crack down on concert scalpers

Zhang Long
Stringent real-name registration was introduced yesterday for entertainment performances as fans have long been plagued by scalpers, who are trying to find loopholes in the system.
Zhang Long

An upgraded real-name registration regulation for large commercial performances (over 5,000 audience members) rolled out on Wednesday after concertgoers have long been plagued by scalpers.

Taiwan pop singer Jay Chou’s Tianjin concerts, which were held from September 7 to 10, did not have real-name registration for the audience, so scalpers used the loophole to purchase stacks of tickets and put them on second-hand online markets, raising the original price per ticket of 2,000 yuan (US$275) to a whopping 100,000 yuan.

Chou’s fans were astounded that over 110,000 tickets to his Carnival World Tour concerts in Shanghai were sold out just seconds after pre-sales began on Tuesday, which left them wondering if scalpers were at play.

The pop singer plans to give four concerts in Shanghai from October 12 through 15, but pre-sale tickets for the concerts on ticketing websites and apps such as Maoyan and Damai all sold out in a matter of seconds.

Real-name registration upgraded to crack down on concert scalpers

A poster advertises pop singer Jay Chou's Carnival World Tour Shanghai concerts.

The upgraded real-name registration requires concertgoers to put in their real names and ID card numbers when purchasing tickets on ticketing platforms. Moreover, they need to scan their face as well as ID cards before entering the concert venue, in an effort to effectively deter scalpers.

Unable to buy tickets in bulk anymore, scalpers have resorted to other tricks to profit from concertgoers, such as hiring helpers or using "ticket-grabbing" software. If successful, the scalpers charge a commission, while if they fail to buy the ticket, they refund the money to their customers.

Ticket-grabbing software is used by scalpers to open dozens of ticketing platform's mobile apps to buy tickets simultaneously.

On top of the ticket price, a scalper said he charged 1,500 yuan commission for outer circle seats and 2,500 commission for inner circle seats at Chou's Shanghai concerts.

However, even scalpers do not have a 100 percent guarantee that they can successfully buy tickets. Some of Chou's fans vented their disappointment that they paid scalpers up to 4,000 yuan in commission, but still did not get tickets.

So far, more than 5 million fans have marked their interest on ticketing platforms for Chou’s Shanghai concerts. They still have a chance when the platforms release more tickets.

Real-name registration upgraded to crack down on concert scalpers

Jay Chou at a concert in the city of Nanjing in 2019.

Fans of China's pop idol band TFBOYS had the same struggle with scalpers in August for the group's 10th-anniversary concert in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province.

With only 30,000 official tickets released, fans who failed to obtain a ticket from official ticketing sources had to resort to scalpers.

Using the same "ticket-grabbing software," scalpers were charging as much as 6,000 yuan commission for the successful purchase of tickets.

Real-name registration upgraded to crack down on concert scalpers

The official poster of the TFBOYS 10th-anniversary concert.

The new real-name registration system allows only one ticket for each ID card number. Purchasers can get a refund of their ticket at least 48 hours before the concert starts. However, they cannot resell the ticket as it is linked to their personal info.

The new regulation also stipulates that concert organizers should sell more than 85 percent of tickets for each concert and performance on public ticketing platforms. The remaining 15 percent of tickets, if to be used, should also be registered with the users’ information 24 hours before the concert starts, according to China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Ministry of Public Security.

The entertainment industry is picking up quickly after the hiatus caused by COVID-19. From January to July, Shanghai had 22,054 commercial entertainment performances, up 13.2 from the same period in 2019. The performances have attracted 119.93 million audience members, up 25.1 percent from the same period in 2019, according to data released by the China Association of Performing Arts.

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