It’s hire-a-girl­friend time for Lu­nar New Year re­union

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION&ANALYSIS -

AS MIL­LIONS in China head home to cel­e­brate the Lu­nar New Year hol­i­day with their fam­i­lies, 24-year-old Luoluo is busy an­swer­ing mes­sages on a mo­bile app from des­per­ate men look­ing to hire an in­stant girl­friend who they can present to mom and dad.

On vis­its home dur­ing the hol­i­day, which be­gins to­day, sin­gle peo­ple are of­ten sub­jected to tough lec­tures from rel­a­tives keen on re­in­forc­ing the im­por­tance of mar­riage and se­cur­ing the fam­ily blood­line.

Some sin­gles re­sort to hir­ing fake girl­friends and boyfriends to ap­pease their par­ents. But an ex­plo­sion in smart­phone use in re­cent years means one can now pay for such a date through a hand­ful of mo­bile apps, with just a few clicks.

“More than 1 000 users on our plat­form have signed up as dates for hire for the New Year break,” Cao Tiantian, founder of date-forhire app Hire Me Plz, said.

Sub­scribers to the app pay from as lit­tle as 1 yuan (R1.94) to 1 999 yuan an hour for a din­ner date, a chat, a game of mah-jong or even a foot mas­sage.

Prices surge around the time of Lu­nar New Year, with thou­sands of at­trac­tive twenty-some­things like Luoluo com­mand­ing fees of 3 000 yuan to 10 000 yuan a day.

“I’m still seek­ing peo­ple to fill my time slots,” she said. – Reuters

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