Rent a partner for festivities? Fees have tripled

HONG KONG • For singletons looking to "rent" boyfriends and girlfriends, the fees have tripled to 6,000 yuan (S$1,240) a day due to a surge in demand in the run-up to Chinese New Year.

The cost of renting a pretend partner typically ranges from 500 yuan to 2,000 yuan a night, excluding expenses.

But prices have soared ahead of the Spring Festival holiday, during which young urban dwellers return to their hometowns for family reunions, reported South China Morning Post.

It is possible to rent a partner by phone or from the comfort of your home, using the online retail giant Alibaba's Taobao.com and other websites that offer such services, reported South China Morning Post.

The popular Chinese social media messaging tool, WeChat, is host to many public accounts that offer partners for rent.

One bachelor recently posted a request on Chinese social media platform Baidu to find a woman who would have a meal with his family and spend a night at his parents' home. He is offering to pay up to 6,000 yuan.

On one Chinese website dedicated to matching the singletons with fake partners, customers say they are looking for a decent-looking woman whom they can pass off as their girlfriend.

Many customers and those who offer their services stress that no kissing or sexual services are involved in the transaction.

"I am renting out my time only, not my body," said a 27-year-old woman from Shenzhen, in her short write-up on the website.

One man said he is even willing to enter into a fake marriage. Another said he can provide cover to a client by making regular phone calls to their parents, provided he is paid for the extra services.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 26, 2017, with the headline 'Rent a partner for festivities? Fees have tripled'. Print Edition | Subscribe