• Your girlfriend can be just a click away.

Your girlfriend can be just a click away. (Photo : Getty Images)

“When are you getting married?” “When are you starting your family?” “Where is your date?”

These are just some of the most dreaded questions every single person has to hear and answer every now and then from his family or relatives.

If you tell them you’re busy, they will start lecturing you on the importance of giving time. If you tell them you’re waiting for the right girl, they’ll tell that you have a very high standard, and so on.

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This situation happens around the world, especially in China where elder relatives are keen on reinforcing the importance of marriage and securing the family blood line.

But don’t fret! They won’t think you are alone anymore with rent-a-date apps that are making rounds in China nowadays, and one of them is Hire Me Plz.

For as little as 1 yuan ($0.15) to 1,999 yuan an hour, you can now have a girlfriend to go on a dinner date, chat, play a game of mah-jong, or even a foot massage.

Because it’s Lunar New Year, prices surge from 3,000 yuan to 10,000 yuan a day.

“Over 1,000 users on our platform have signed up as dates for hire for the New Year’s break,” Cao Tiantian, founder of date-for-hire app, Hire Me Plz, told Reuters.

Hire Me Plz has garnered a user base of 700,000 and 1.7 million followers on Tencent’s (0700.HK) WeChat, China’s biggest mobile social media network, since its launch in 2015.

Apart from Hire Me Plz, there are five other major date-hiring apps, which make their money from subscription fees and taking a cut from hires.

Although these date rentals--offline or online--have received negative feedback from some netizens and some legal experts on the morality and legality of the business, some said there are no clear prohibitions in Chinese laws regarding them.

“Risks exist among such deals, which may also violate the law to some extent,” said Li Hongzhao, an official of the Beijing Lawyers Association Criminal Law Committee.

Buyers are advised to be wary of some services without identity authentication. Also, China prohibits prostitution, so sex is not part of the services offered on any of the mobile apps.

“It is sometimes hard to define the boundaries of appropriate intimacy and when an act of intimacy becomes sexual assault,” added Li.

Last year, Boyfriend for Hire and Bridesmaid for Rent became a trend in China. Bridesmaid for rent became popular due to some wedding pranks-gone wrong.