Home Internet Internet cafes running out of business amid soaring costs

Internet cafes running out of business amid soaring costs


The number of internet cafes, once popular venues, has decreased by 80 percent in total, with 360 closures witnessed in the last three months alone due to rising computer and rental costs and the widespread use of smartphones.

In the heyday of neighborhood economies, internet cafes once shone brightly, serving as vital hubs for socializing and gaming when not every household had access to computers and the internet. However, their prominence has waned in recent years.

According to İlhan Taşkıran, the president of the Istanbul Internet Cafe Owners’ Association, soaring computer prices, rents and the ubiquitous presence of smartphones have dealt a severe blow to the industry.

Over the past three months alone, 360 internet cafes have shuttered, while only six new ones have opened. The total number of internet cafes in Türkiye has plummeted from 27,000 to 5,000.

Taşkıran attributed this decline primarily to escalating costs. The initial investment required to open an internet cafe has skyrocketed, with the price per computer now reaching up to 80,000 Turkish Liras (nearly $2,500), compared to 15,000 liras ($465) previously.

Additionally, the necessity to replace computers every four years poses a significant financial burden for cafe owners. Rising rental prices and the widespread adoption of smartphones further exacerbate the challenges faced by internet cafes.

While traditional internet cafes continue to close their doors, some businesses are pivoting towards modern gaming centers. Particularly popular among those born in the 1990s, internet cafes are transforming into gaming hubs, with more technologically advanced establishments charging customers 40 liras ($1.25) an hour.

Pointing out that internet cafes have turned into gaming centers, Taşkıran emphasized that these cafes continue to maintain their importance in some of the districts in Istanbul, such as Esenyurt, Bağcılar and Bahçelievler. Many have transitioned into gaming salons, presenting lucrative investment opportunities. Presently, a gaming center equipped with 100 computers can generate monthly revenues ranging from 400,000 ($12,440) to 600,000 liras ($18,660)

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