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China’s Generation of Lonely Men Leads to Boom In Virtual Girlfriends

Posted: 09/24/2014 2:09 pm

Spike Jonze’s 2013 movie Her, starring Joaquin Phoenix

When Spike Jonze’s 2013 movie Her hit the big screen, no one could have guessed how the fictional relationship between a human and an operating system could become a reality in the future. But now China’s popular e-commerce website Taobao is selling just that to lonely, young men looking for virtual companionship.

For just RMB 20 (US $3.26), you, too, can have the “girlfriend experience” through WeChat. As part of the service, you will be pampered with sweet morning wake-up calls, good night calls and be given a patient listener willing to hear all of your problems 24 hours a day, the report said. The new service is apparently all the rage in China at the moment.

A search of the term “virtual lover” into one e-commerce website generated more than 1,300 results of shops offering the service. One such shop has had 1,695 transactions since August 21, the newspaper said.

Men can choose different types of girlfriends, from a girl next door-type, diva, intellectual and even a “Lolita”. The service charges can range from RMB 20 a day to RMB 500 a month. The development of the “relationship” is categorized into three stages, namely the “knowing each other” stage, the “crazy in love” stage and the final stage in which a user can have “relationships” with, not just one, but three girls at the same time, one of the shop owners told the newspaper.

A screen grab of one of the shops on Taobao that sells the virtual girlfriend service.

The RMB 20 package means the client can chat with a girlfriend for at least 100 messages or speak with her over the phone. In the second stage, the girlfriend will send the client a photo of herself and express feelings to help give the man the illusion “he is crazily in love with the girl”, said the shop owner. However, the newspaper said the final stage service is relatively new, and nobody has purchased it yet. That’s okay though, because the third stage is the most boring in real life, too.

Once the service is completed, the girlfriend is requested to cut off contacts with clients, deleting him from her WeChat account and not to not have revealed her real name or address in order to protect privacy, the shop owner said.

To serve China’s large pool of singles, Taobao has already launched girlfriend rental services for Valentine’s Day and Spring Festival. The new virtual girlfriend service is expected to gain a huge following with a generation of people who have no time and energy for real relationships.

Photos: Warners Bros, Taobao, MIT Technology Review


Girlfriend Mistaken for Prostitute in Dongguan Hotel Raid

Posted: 08/1/2014 5:55 pm

dongguan vice bustQixi Festival is coming up this weekend, and there’s love in the air to coincide with this newly appropriated “Chinese Valentine’s Day”. And yet, couples must take care to ensure their love remains within the confines of the law.

An unmarried couple spending the night together in Dongguan found themselves in police detention when they were caught up in a raid on prostitution, reports Sina News.

Miss Wang and her boyfriend were staying at a hotel near Jinyue Bay, Dongcheng on July 28 when they received a knock on their door at 11pm. It was a team of police that asked to see their personal identification. Miss Wang didn’t have her personal ID, but showed her driver’s license instead. The police left.

However, they returned 15 minutes later to request the two of them to come down to the police station for further questioning on the suspicion that they were in violation of prostitution laws. The pair was detained by police until 11 am the next day.

The couple has known each other for a year, and are set to be married at the end of this year. They have also purchased a house in Dongguan.

The police confirmed later that no individuals were charged with prostitution offenses that night at the hotel. They said the delay in releasing the couple was due to a computer problem that did not allow them to make a proper identification.

As per Chinese criminal law, municipal police have the right to detain suspects for up to 24 hours in order to conduct an investigation.

This was not the first time a man’s girlfriend has been suspected of being his hired company in Dongguan. The prostitution crackdown that has seen thousands of people arrested resulted in police previously detaining such a couple that were later released.

But perhaps cops are just sensitive because Qixi Festival arrives this weekend, known in traditional Chinese culture as “Girls’ Day” and not the “traditional Chinese Valentine’s Day” it is currently marketed as. Rather than a day in which romantic love is celebrated between couples, Qixi Festival is the traditional day for to celebrate girl culture in China. On this day in history, girls were allowed to roam around freely while they held competitions to see who had the best skills to be the “perfect wife”.

The one romantic aspect of Qixi Festival involves the story of the Cowherd and the Seamstress. The story is about star-crossed lovers who were denied being together except on the one day of the year when the ravens would all fly into the sky, acting as a bridge for the two to briefly meet in the Milky Way.

Who knows? If you are in a Dongguan hotel with your soulmate this Qixi Festival, you too might be denied seeing her.

Photo: Hexun


“Kissing Students at McDonald’s” Sparks Chinese Internet Meme

Posted: 07/30/2014 1:57 pm

mcdonalds pda children kissingWe can’t verify if the above photo is in fact of two Chinese schoolchildren kissing, but we can say for sure that this photo has become a hugely popular Chinese meme.

At its most basic, the photo succinctly depicts the icky feeling we all get when trying to ignore two tracksuit-attired schoolkids who are doing their best to become invisible when kissing in a subway station.

mcdonalds pda children kissing

For whatever reason, this photo has circulated like crazy on the Chinese internet. It’s struck such a chord that netizens have gotten in on the fun by contributing their own take on the image. We’re not about to stop the meme train, so check out the following inspired tributes:

mcdonalds pda children kissingmcdonalds pda children kissingmcdonalds pda children kissingmcdonalds pda children kissingmcdonalds pda children kissingmcdonalds pda children kissingmcdonalds pda children kissingmcdonalds pda children kissing

The burgeoning sexuality of an increasingly aware younger generation isn’t something that Chinese parents want to deal with, while Chinese dating remains an awkward experience that usually includes parental pressure to marry.

Still, we’re amazed that something so popular on the Chinese internet should be wholly and unabashedly influenced by Japanese culture in the form of manga.

[h/t MissXQ]

Photos: MSN


Zhuhai Wants Lovers on Tandem Bicycles, So Many It Can Break a World Record

Posted: 05/22/2014 5:55 pm

tandem bicycle lovers zhuhai chinaFlying the world’s largest kite and having the world’s largest aquarium simply isn’t good enough for the people that live in China’s most livable city with the best air quality. Instead, Zhuhai is looking for 199 couples to enroll in a tandem bicycle race in order to break a Guinness World Record.

The event will take place on August 8, the same day as the Chinese festival called Qixi*. Organizers are looking for 119 Chinese couples and 80 Asian and African couples to sign up before July 10.

With the theme of ”Romantic Zhuhai, the legend of love”, the tandem bike race is planned along many of Zhuhai’s city landmarks: it begins at Zhuhai’s Lovers’ Lane and East Wind Road before winding its way through Haibin Park, the Zhuhai Fisherwoman, the Haibin Pool, and the Zhuhai Opera House, which is currently under construction. With the Macau skyline in the background, the race course will finally end at Hengqin Changlong International Resort for a total distance of 29.9km.

And it’s not just in the name of love: the winners of the race will get a chance to win the exclusive use of a Trumpche car for two years.

Sounds positively romantic, having your love be authenticated through the participation of breaking a world record. Though we’d have to say: an ideal competition involving two people in love should be more something like this:

wife carrying contest


* Notes: Formerly known as “Girls’ Day”, Qixi Festival is well-known for its heart-breaking story of the cowherd and the seamstress who were destined to spend all of eternity apart except for this one day of the year. On Qixi, all the crows in the world fly to bridge the gap in the Milky Way, allowing them to finally meet each other, if only temporarily.

For this reason, Qixi is often referred as China’s “Valentine’s Day” despite also celebrating similar romantic festivals on “I Love You” Day (May 20), Singles’ Day (Nov 11), Valentine’s Day and White Day (March 14).

Photo: Sina,


Shenzhen student finds girlfriends cost RMB9800 per year

Posted: 09/9/2013 7:00 am

A college student in Shenzhen kept accounts over a year that would help him calculate the cost of having a girlfriend. He claimed in late August that it cost 9,800 yuan a year, QQ News reported Saturday.

This revelation has caused quite a stir with netizens as students have to think carefully about how to spend their pocket money during the new school year. The student concluded that, while dating, he could only spend 283 yuan of his 1100 yuan monthly pocket money on himself.

He recorded that of the four most important red letter days in his relationship – birthday, Western Valentine’s Day, qixi, Christmas – he spent 300-900 yuan on presents. He spent 400 yuan on his present for their 1-year anniversary. He and his girlfriend went to the movies twice a month on average, which cost him 700 yuan in one year. He spent 4800 yuan on meals over the year and other activities such as swimming, karaoke and girlfriend’s friends’ birthday parties cost him 3000 yuan.

Other students have pointed out that this student is something of a diaosi, claiming that a romance in Shenzhen should cost at least 12,000 yuan.

Han Jiangxue, identified as an “expert on emotions,” said that if couples don’t take into account the practical aspects of being together, such as the cost of living, then their romance is unlikely to last.

Of course, in calculating and reporting the cost he has revealed the embarrassing fact that he is not the world’s most romantic person. He has also of course revealed that he is a masochist.

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