Girlfriend and boyfriend hiring mobile apps are gaining popularity among Chinese singletons. The Chinese Lunar New Year holiday is upon us. And while many gear up to face their families during this holiday, apps like Hire Me Plz are gaining popularity. Unlike current dating apps such as Tinder, singles can log on to one of these apps and hire one asap. The apps have become so popular with single Chinese people, that they are willing to pay around 10,000 yuan or US $1,500 a day for a partner.
Charges per hour vary from 1 yuan or 15 US cents to 1,999 Yuan. This comes to US $290. However, during holidays, rental’s often surge from 3000 yuan (US $436) to 10,000 yuan (US $ 1,500) per day. The way these apps work is also very simple.
According to Reuters, youngsters sell their time as a commodity on the mobile app. Hire Me Plz and four other popular date rental mobile apps take a cut from the hires. In addition, they also earn from the subscription fees. “Our business model is still new,” states Cao Tiantian, founder of Hire Me Plz. However, given the success of the app, Cao expects date-rental app industry to become a multi-billion dollar market in five years.
Sputnik News informs that Hire Me Plz garnered 700,000 users since its 2015 launch. It has around 1.7 million followers on WeChat, which is China’s biggest social network. “Over 1,000 users on our platform have signed up as dates for hire for the New Year break,” added Cao. But this is not how the founder envisaged his product.
A Free Malaysia Today report states that Cao initially launched his app to help youngsters living away from home to overcome loneliness. “I was seeking a more effective way to ask someone out. Who wants to chat for months via social networks and end up with nothing?” said Cao. Over the years, it evolved into a dating rental app.
However, the app is not without its critics. Legal experts have long been debating the morality and legality of these apps. Apps like Hire Me Plz offer a date on hire and sex is not a part of the services offered. Also prostitution is illegal in China. However with apps like Hire Me Plz, it is hard to define boundaries for of appropriate and inappropriate intimacy, explains Fortune magazine report. The publication quotes Li Hongzhao, from the Beijing Lawyers Association Criminal Law Committee, who says that it is difficult to determine when intimacy transforms into sexual assault. Despite the pitfalls, the apps are gaining more and more customers every year.
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