Young women are massively outnumbered by young men in China thanks to the country’s former one-child policy. To avoid pressure from their families, many young men are using apps to hire women to pose as their girlfriends. Reuters followed one of these girlfriends-for-hire over a holiday weekend to see what the experience was like.
Any single person who’s gone home for the holidays probably knows what it’s like to face questions from family members about their love life and their prospects for marriage.
That’s especially true for men in China, where thanks to a one-child policy that was in place for 36 years, there are about 30 million more men than women between the ages of 24 and 40.
That imbalance has given way to a surprising new side-hustle for young Chinese women: posing as single men’s girlfriends to assuage the fears of prying relatives — for a fee, of course.
Date-finding apps are becoming an increasingly popular choice in China, with one app, Hire Me Plz, boasting a reported user base of 700,000 people.
Last year, Beijing blogger Zhao Yuqing sifted through more than 700 applications from men desperate for a fake girlfriend to show off to their relatives. She shared her experience with Reuters, and her story illustrates the depth of China’s marriage problem.
Zhao Yuqing is a 24-year-old blogger from Beijing, China. Last year, she joined a girlfriend-for-hire service to get the experience of being someone’s holiday companion. REUTERS/Muyi Xiao
Lunar New Year is the busiest time of year for these “instant girlfriends,” who can command as much as $1,450 a day during the holiday week. Yuqing, on the other hand, stated in her online ad that she would only charge for transportation. REUTERS/Muyi Xiao
She sifted through 700 applications before selecting Wang Quanming, a website operator in his early thirties from a rural town in southern China. “He is being pressured to find a wife and his need to rent a girlfriend is real,” Yuqing told Reuters. REUTERS/Muyi Xiao
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