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Questions over Shanghai massage club's future

DOUBT surrounded the future of the Congen Massage Healthcare Club chain today after several outlets in Shanghai said they were no longer accepting prepaid membership cards. 

And an employee at its Dagu Road store told Shanghai Daily the company hadn’t paid their salary for the past three months. 

“We were notified by senior managers on October 1 that prepaid membership cards can no longer be used and we were told that the founder and major investors had gone missing,” Xiao Yu said. 

“We’re expecting them to give employees a solution after the seven-day National Day Holiday wraps up,” she added. 

The Dagu Road store was still accepting cash payments and said it was offering a 50 percent discount on the regular prices. 

An outlet on Sichuan Road N. also said it could accept cash, and prepaid membership cards couldn’t be used.

An employee surnamed Wu at the chain’s store on Nanjing Road E. claimed that more than 2,000 Congen employees, including managers, hadn’t been paid for two to three months and some hadn’t had their salary for five to six months. 

He said that nobody can find their boss, and currently only a few outlets were still operating.

Asked why they are still working, Wu said: “We are cutting the losses (by taking cash). It’s better than doing nothing.”

He said he started to work for Congen in April, but had only been paid twice.

Phone calls to the headquarters of Congen Massage, on Wuzhong Road, went unanswered today. 

The city’s commerce commission and the Shanghai Administration for Industry and Commerce could also not be reached for comment. 

Congen Massage was set up by Shanghai Congen Management Co Ltd, and has a registration capital of 50 million yuan (US$8.14 million), according to administration data. 

Congen Massage sells four kinds of membership cads, with the most expensive “Diamond Card” costing 20,000 yuan (US$3,258) and offering discounts of up to 32 percent. 

The cheapest, the Gold Card, costs 2,000 yuan. 

According to its website, Congen also set up a foot massage training school in 2007.

In a microblog post just last month, Congen said it was offering a “special package” to celebrate its 10th anniversary of its establishment.

The company said on its website that it has more than 100 branches in five cities across China. 


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