Chinese Men Are Paying Virtual Girlfriends to Listen to Them Complain about Work


They say money can’t buy happiness, but it sure can buy empathy in China. Lonely businessmen are actually paying women up to $5 a day, just for a few kind words and a bit of understanding. A similar service is available for women as well.

Many young men and women are making quick money by offering the service through Taobao – China’s leading e-commerce website. They call themselves ‘virtual girlfriends/boyfriends’, and they’re willing to listen to their clients complaining about a tough day at work.

Male clients have a range of virtual girlfriend personalities to choose from, including ‘doll-like girls’, ‘mature women’, and ‘the girl next door’. For women, the choices include ‘men in uniform’, ‘CEO’, ‘handsome men’ and ‘comforting men’.

Once you choose a virtual girlfriend or boyfriend, their services could cost you anywhere between 20 and 30 yuan ($3 to $5), depending on what you want them to do. They could give you wake-up calls in the morning, say good night at bedtime, feign concern at various times during the day, and send encouraging text messages.

Xiaomi, a businesswoman in her early 20s, decided to become a virtual girlfriend to boost the number of visitors to her Taobao store. It isn’t easy an easy job – she needs to keep track of her phone at all times, making sure she calls and replies to her customers on time.

But all the hard work has paid off – her site’s sales have increased, with daily transactions growing from 7 or 8 calls to over 500. She has even hired seven female part-time employees to help her out with the growing demand for mobile girlfriends.


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