Beijing: An online Chinese sales firm has started a bizarre ‘Rent a Boyfriend’ service for single women wanting to stave off embarrassing queries about marriage and male companion from their families.
The firm, Taobao.com, China’s largest online marketplace, is hoping to cash in on plight of millions of single women during the next month’s Chinese New Year, which is traditionally a family reunion period.
The online service is offering single women a ‘Rent a Boyfriend service to accompany them during their visit friends and families, go shopping, having meals and even getting a kiss out of courtesy.
All this for a charge, calculated on hourly basis. According to media reports China has about 180 million singles in the country. Almost all Chinese travel to their native places during the New Year to celebrate with their parents, near and dear.
But many single working women regard as the most dreadful time as they have to face the same old question at the family dinner table: Have you got a boyfriend? And for those who haven’t found their Mr Right, renting a boyfriend emerges as a solution.
"I offer such a service only because I’m bored and know fewer female friends at work," Ding Hui, 27, a salesman in the plastic industry in Shanghai, told official China Daily.
He leased himself twice last year during Spring Festival and National Day.
His customers were two 28-year-old women. He charged 3,000 yuan each (USD 500) and the customer had to cover his round-trip tickets, accommodations and bought him clothes to make him look smart.
More than 260 rent-a-boyfriend services can be found on taobao.com, with the number climbing, the Daily said.
Beijing Normal University associate professor of psychology Lin Xiuyun said it’s not a good idea to rent a boyfriend or girlfriend to meet one’s parents, who will be concerned about more questions, such as when they will get married.
"It’s better to communicate with parents, who will be hurt more if the white lie ends with a break-up between the fake couple," Lin said.