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China: Around The Nation

Annoyed with your noisy neighbours? Chinese retailers have a gadget to help you get even

When one flat dweller couldn’t stop other people’s children from running about, he returned like with like

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 April, 2017, 4:57pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 April, 2017, 5:35pm

A gadget that creates vibrations on the ceiling to rein in noisy upstairs neighbours has become a hit among Chinese flat dwellers, according to a local newspaper.

A resident of Beijing, only indentified by his family name Zhang, had been complaining about the noise coming from children who lived on the floor above him and ran around, which often kept Zhang’s parents awake, the Beijing Morning Post reported.

He called the police for help, who visited the family and asked them to stop, but as soon as they were gone, the noise would soon start again. Exasperated, Zhang bought a vibrating motor, attached it to the ceiling, and turned it on whenever the children started running, the report said.

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“The upstairs family came down to talk to us, and they became quiet for a while, but then the conflicts between us grew bigger,” Zhang was quoted as saying.

Taobao.com, China’s consumer-to-consumer platform, offers many noise-dispelling vibrating motors that produce a variety of sounds, with some models selling for hundreds of yuan. One kit, selling for 138 yuan (US$20), includes a motor, a Wi-fi remote, cables and an extendable rod.

One of the ads reads: “Still annoyed with the noise upstairs? When facing a problem that even the police cannot solve, it’s time to fight back.”

Taobao is owned by Alibaba, which owns the South China Morning Post.

One retailer said interest in the noise-dispelling motors was growing so quickly that he had trouble supplying customers. He told the newspaper he was getting around the problem by renting the devices, charging according to their power output.

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“Once you and your neighbours make peace, you can return it. We charge by the day,” the retailer was quoted as saying.

But not everyone thinks the floor thumpers are a good idea. A professor from the Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture told the newspaper that long-term use of such motors could cause cracks in walls and other damage.