A recent series of busts on a once-booming sex trade in Dongguan, aka China’s “capital of sex”, aka “Sin City”, has led to, ahem, hard times for the city’s government which relied on the entertainment industry for tax revenues.
Reuters reports that the city has already seen economic slowdown and higher operating costs sine February, when more than 6,000 police officers launched raids that led to the arrest of 1,000 people and the shuttering of several “entertainment venues”.
“Manufacturing is unlikely to recover and the service industry has been hurt, so Dongguan’s economy in the first quarter should not look good,” said Qun Liao, chief economist at China Citic Bank International. “If there’s no manufacturing, there’s no one to enjoy the services.”
The raids are expected to result in some 50 billion yuan ($8 billion) in losses for businesses in the city, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
It’s estimated that 10 percent of the floating population in Dongguan, a city of 7 million people, were involved in the sex trade, and following February’s busts, thousands of them fled in a damn hurry.
Reuters says that the impact is evident in the city, as neon lights dangling from street signs reveal customers few and far between loitering formerly bustling lounges occupied by bar girls.
One bartender said that police came to inspect his facilities around three times a week as hotels and karaoke bars across the city have been forced to close down. Taxi drivers and cosmetic stores have likewise seen their revenue drop by 50-60 percent.
“I hope the prostitutes come back,” the owner of a cosmetics shop told the reporters.
At least they’ll always have their thriving digital manufacturing scene and that giant shopping mall.