Chinese women seek boyfriends for hire

Societal and parental pressures on China's single women over the long holiday make companion rentals a big business.

By Jason Notte Feb 13, 2013 2:41PM
Image: Businessman in China ( Brooklyn Production/Corbis)Much like Joey Ramone, there are several gentlemen in China who wanna be your boyfriend. It's going to cost you, though, and their hourly rate starts at the price of a downloaded Ramones album.

With Chinese Lunar New Year and Valentine's Day so close on the calendar this year, ABC News is reporting that Chinese shopping site Taobao has seen an 884% spike in searches for the Chinese characters that translate to "rent-a-boyfriend."

The search results list payment plans that start at $8 an hour for a night at the movies, $16 if it's a horror movie and a sliding scale of fees for basic conversation, dinner parties, a night out for drinks or meeting the parents.

The Chinese aren't alone in the friend rental business, as such U.S. websites as lend out companions for sporting events, movies, city tours and even prom dates for a fee. The stakes are a bit higher in China, however, as ABC News notes the parental and societal pressure on women to find a companion and get married is much more intense than it is in the U.S. overall.

The state media refers to women over age 27 as "leftover" women. China's arbitrary societal cutoff for marriage at age 26 recalls the disparaging Japanese term for single women of that age and older: Christmas cake, an item nobody wants after Dec. 25. With single Chinese women heading home for weeks at a time to mark the New Year, the idea of having someone around to get the parents off their back is driving an entire industry.

One rent-a-boyfriend site cited by ABC charges $1.45 a day for wake-up calls and tacks on the cost of "boyfriend" mobile minutes as an extra charge. Want someone to go shopping with you in your hometown? That's $6.42 an hour. The cost of a party pal or drinking partner varies by the length of the party and what you're drinking, but an all-inclusive package goes for $128 a day. Handshakes, hugs and goodbye kisses on the cheeks or forehead are free.

If this seems a little too “Midnight Cowboy” for comfort, just know there are some big paperwork differences between boyfriend services and the escort industry. For one, there are "no sex" clauses in the contract that entitle customers to a full refund if there are unwelcome advances and result in jail time for a handsy boyfriend-for-hire once the cops get involved. If it works out, however, the matchmaking fee can get far more costly than a few dinners with mom and dad.

More on moneyNOW

Tags: Drama
Feb 13, 2013 3:54PM
When is the next flight to China? I can't even give this little thing away here!!!
Feb 13, 2013 5:40PM
I have been to China 5 times over the last 7 years and in MY opinion there are NO shortage of Chinese women.  All I can say if I was much younger no one would need to pay me for shared time.  I personally feel many Chinese women are very attractive and desirable.
Feb 13, 2013 4:02PM
This is about the funniest thing I've read in quite sometime. "Leftover and Christmas Cake" used to describe women is fairly cruel but funny in a way. I wonder what they call men past the age of 27?
 leftovers???? i think chinese women are very pretty. they just aren't valued very much in china where many female fetuses are aborted because of their gender. send them over here and we'll trade you for 2 for 1 with our many not wanting to work males. since it's the year of the snake we can also send you a ton of our politicians!!!
Feb 13, 2013 4:39PM
interesting because everything else you read is that there is a shortage of women in China and they pretty much wait  for the guy with the largest dowery offer to get married.
Feb 13, 2013 5:31PM
Isn't the ratio in China like 6 men to 1 woman?  Are these women nuts?
Ha! I think we're getting dumber as a species by the day.
Feb 13, 2013 6:08PM
Nice to read about a place where the radical feminists are apparently...........minimal.
Feb 13, 2013 5:25PM
Feb 13, 2013 5:59PM
Like so many other things in China,  it's all about putting on a front.  There's an unbelievable amount of pretense and fakery in everything they do just to appear to be great.  Hidden agendas abound.
But actually the Chinese people all know that,  so this whole deal might just be a short term trend and nothing more.

Feb 13, 2013 4:50PM
Feb 13, 2013 7:37PM

What do I have to do to become one of these man whores?

Feb 13, 2013 4:49PM
I see a potential movie here.  There are just so many scenarios one can imagine.  Like a scene where they get into an argument  and the guy says to her "just leave me alone you, you Christmas cake!"  and she starts crying and he's like "I, I didn't mean it baby" and they kiss for real and fall in love!  That's the Hollywood ending anyway.
Feb 13, 2013 5:28PM
I cant even Type im laughing so hard this was awesome the things you read on the Internet?
Feb 13, 2013 8:23PM
There you go illegals and welfare bums. Get a ticket to china and get a job
Feb 13, 2013 8:36PM
It make sense because there aren't so many "good husband" for leftover women,If you are a rich and single unmarried  man, you will choose a younger girls, not a leftover woman, that's chinese logic.
Feb 13, 2013 6:10PM

To the 'BeingHonest080312'

... Love your comment. I got a pretty good laugh. That is my laugh of the day... Thanks buddy...

Feb 13, 2013 6:31PM

selected murder of millions of female fetus's and babies has it's problems!

Feb 13, 2013 5:41PM
hmmm wonder if the movie would be the only horror on such a date?
Feb 13, 2013 6:42PM
I think that all Chinese women are more intelligent than Chinese men. heheh that's why they are doing that.
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.

Trending NOW

What’s this?


[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished an upbeat week on a mixed note. The S&P 500 shed less than a point, ending the week higher by 1.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) cemented a 1.7% advance for the week. High-beta names underperformed, which weighed on the Nasdaq Composite (-0.3%) and the Russell 2000 (-1.3%).

Equity indices displayed strength in the early going with the S&P 500 tagging the 2,019 level during the opening 30 minutes of the action. However, ... More