‘Boyfriend-sharing’ services hit Chinese shopping malls (but don’t get the wrong idea, they just carry your bags)
Women who want someone to hold their shopping, provide advice on what to buy or give them someone to talk to can now hire a ‘boyfriend’ with swipe of their phone
Chinese shopping malls have started offering “boyfriend-sharing” services in one of the more eye-catching examples of the country’s all-encompassing shared economy.
The launch of one such service at a mall in the northern province of Hebei on Thursday was reported by Chinanews.com, which published pictures of young men dressed in smart jackets and bow ties standing inside display frames.
A sign said that it would only cost one yuan (16 US cents) to hire them for 30 minutes and another showed a QR code that customers could scan to pay for the service.
“Shared boyfriends offer services such as holding bags, taking photos, chatting and shopping,” the mall told its customers.
Consumers in China can already hire everything from bicycles and baby strollers to umbrellas with a swipe of their phone and the new service is already catching on.
Malls in Hainan and Shandong have also reportedly opened similar services in the past few months.
A shared boyfriend working at a mall in Haikou city in the southern province of Hainan told Chinanews that his customers – usually women in their 20s – sometimes ask for his advice when they have difficulty in choosing what clothes to buy and also want to take selfies together to post on social media.
But lest anyone get the wrong impression about the services on offer, he added: “We must avoid physical contact. This is written in our regulations.”