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Japanese 'matchmaking restaurant' chain Aisekiya taps Southeast Asia

This photo for illustration purposes shows randomly picked men and women sharing a table at an Aisekiya restaurant run by Section Eight Co. (Photo courtesy of Section Eight/NNA/Kyodo)

SINGAPORE (NNA/Kyodo) -- Section Eight Co., the operator of "matchmaking restaurant" chain Aisekiya in Japan, will establish a joint venture in Singapore with local karaoke chain operator Corlene International Entertainment Pte. Ltd. in its first foray abroad.

Aisekiya restaurants randomly place customers of the opposite gender at the same table to help them find potential partners. The name comes from the Japanese word "aiseki," meaning "table sharing."

Tokyo-based Section Eight said it will establish Aisekiya International Pte. Ltd. with a capital of S$60,000 (US$44,000) in January. It will hold a 33.4 percent stake, with Corlene's subsidiary, Ukiyo Ventures Pte. Ltd., owning the remainder.

Section Eight will allow the joint venture to franchise overseas restaurants, according to a company statement released Friday.

The company will launch an Aisekiya restaurant in Singapore and another in the Southeast Asian region in 2020 and plans to expand its overseas chain to more than 10 restaurants in five years.

"We expect demand" for Aisekiya restaurants in Singapore, where there is a noticeable trend toward late marriage, a Section Eight spokeswoman told NNA on Friday.

The company has yet to decide a pricing system. Around 50 existing Aisekiya restaurants in Japan charge time-based rates for men while women can use the service free of charge.

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