With the Chinese New Year fast approaching, single women are turning to boyfriend rental websites to try and appease anxious family members wanting the family's young women to settle down.
In Chinese culture, parents have historically been the motor that drives their children and they have also been the leader in pushing their young, under 30 single daughters to get married. Social and cultural expectations in China frown upon older, single women which have been previously described as "leftover women."
So to appease pestering parents, China has seen a recent boom in boyfriend rental services. They provide women the option of choosing between a plethora of male candidates that serve the purpose of the "boyfriend" that they can bring to family dinner.
"Picture a scene where people sit around a table," Zhou Xiaopeng, a consultant with Baihe.com, one of China's biggest dating agencies, told ABC.
"Chinese people love to get together for dinner. On New Year's Eve, everybody is sitting in pairs, your brother with your sister-in-law, your sister with your brother-in-law, and so on. If you're the only one left behind, you can imagine the pressure and frustration," she added.
The rental agency details a list of services that clients can choose from. Renting for the day can run a few hundred yuan or around $50 to as much as $300 a day. They also provide extra services such as a kiss on the cheek, $8, to accompanying the client to a movie or dinner. Sex is not part of the deal and unwanted advances can lead to a refund or a call to the police.
"Some are trying to make their boyfriends jealous. Some want to bring a boyfriend to attend their company's annual dinner party to show their bosses that they are settled and stable," an owner of a boyfriend rental site who wished to be identified only as Gao told BBC.
"The women who rent a boyfriend to bring home for the Lunar New Year are wealthy women around the age of 25. Their parents fear losing face and worry that no one wants to marry their old single daughters," Gao added.