....... Divertimento: Macao Dragon goes bankrupt

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Macao Dragon goes bankrupt

I woke up this morning to news that Macao Dragon, the company which runs a budget ferry service between Hong Kong and Macau has closed down. Ouch! I am holding on to 6 Groupon Hong Kong’s vouchers for Macao Dragon from the original 8 I bought 2 months ago.

TV news reports hint that Groupon may issue refunds. So I tried looking up Groupon’s website. No news. Macao Dragon’s website is not accessible. So, I typed in a Google search and come across a discussion on Geoexpat.com from last week saying that there is news Macao Dragon would be filing for bankruptcy today. OK, where do people get these types of inside information – more to the point, how did I miss this?

According to this discussion forum, Groupon does not pay the service providers until the vouchers that customers have bought are actually redeemed. If this is so, then that means the money I paid for the 6 unused vouchers are still with Groupon. So, for those of you holding Groupon vouchers for Macao Dragon’s ferry service, don’t despair……. yet. Hopefully, it’s Groupon that owes you money and that they will do the right thing soon and offer refunds for unused vouchers.

What a great pity that this company had to close down - what great courage to take on the established duopoly. Its fares were materially cheaper than its competitors. Granted it ran a much more limited service than the others, but you could save money with a little planning. I paid $63 for a ticket, good for any day of the week. A one way daytime ticket to Macau either with TurboJet or with New World First Ferry costs $151-$163/6. Newspaper reports say that Macao Dragon launched its low-cost ferry services in January last year after waiting four years for the Macau government to issue it a license. The company said its business became economically unfeasible after the Macau government slashed the number of passengers it was permitted to carry by 35 per cent.

The government issued Macao Dragon a license entitling it to carry 1,152 passengers per vessel in January last year, but then the Macau Maritime Administration imposed a cap of 750 passengers once the company launched its services in July. Staggering!

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