Jan. 27 (UPI) — It looks like any other Chinese shopping app: Users can apply filters to narrow their search, get recommendations and fill their shopping carts.
But instead of a home delivery of products, you get exactly what you ordered at the end of the transaction: a fake girlfriend or boyfriend you can take to your next family gathering.
That’s the idea behind websites like Zuren77, where you can begin by renting a “person for $1,” The South China Morning Post reported.
China’s online marketplace for pretend romantic partners is seeing a surge in demand ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays.
Buyers in this market are looking for suitable faces and bodies they can bring to their parents, to assure them they are meeting their filial obligations in a society where the pressure to get married and have children is high, according to the report.
Some men and women for hire charge as much as $870 a night for their services. Prices typically range from $70 to $290.
It’s a competitive marketplace and some are selling more than a few hours of their time.
One man, who claims to be a professional actor, said he can not only fake a romantic relationship, but also provide emotional support and go as far as entering a fake marriage.
Others are willing to assuage anxious parents with regular phone calls, although such services require additional fees, according to the report.
Young Chinese are willing to go to great lengths to please their parents while not necessarily espousing traditional values, because the “older generation tends to put marriage before everything,” said Yue Qian, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of British Columbia.
“But the younger generation is exposed to Western values to a greater degree…and think marital status is not the only measure of happiness and success,” Yue said.