Boyfriend Rentals Boom During Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day
Chinese Lunar New Year and Valentine’s Day are only days apart this year, giving a boost to a new and booming business in China — boyfriend rentals.
Taobao, China’s popular shopping website, says that online searches for the term “rental boyfriend” have soared by 884 percent over the same period last year. A search for the Chinese characters of “rent-a-boyfriend” on Taobao.com produces more than 2,000 results, at a range of prices.
Those prices depend on what the customer wants. For instance, just going to a movie can cost 50 RMB (about $8) an hour, but that price doubles if it’s a horror movie. Different rates apply for simple conversation, a dinner party, going out for drinks or meeting the parents.
One of those new rental services was created last fall by an entrepreneur who asked to be identified only as Mr. Gao. He got his inspiration from a newspaper ad that read, “Seeking to rent boyfriend/girlfriend, monthly salary 10,000 RMB and up.” A quick flash went through his mind, inspiring him to expand his online flower business.
Renting out boyfriends and girlfriends is a new business in China. With the Chinese New Year approaching, the whole country has begun its massive annual migration, with millions of people struggling to get home. For the many young Chinese who work away from their hometowns, this is the one time of year when they can spend a week or two at home with their families. Besides visiting relatives and friends, it’s also the perfect time to show what you have achieved in the past year. For many young people, that means bringing home a potential mate or spouse to introduce to your family.