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The Chinese Lunar New Year is less than a week away. Indisputably the biggest event of the year for the Chinese, it is a time when families reunite to celebrate the start of a new year. It is crunch time for Chinese around the world as they get busy preparing for the big day; filling refrigerators with food, preparing hongbao (red envelopes with money in them), and for some, finding the perfect “other half” to introduce to their expectant family.

A wealthy young man has recently offered to pay 1,000,000 Chinese yuan (around US$165,300) to rent a “girlfriend” for a week to accompany him on his trip back to his hometown for the annual celebrations. But even his stacks of cash didn’t seem to help.

Chinese New Year is an important celebration for the Chinese, but many people have a love-hate relationship with such annual family gatherings. Though the customs may vary slightly in each region, elders and married couples are usually expected to give hongbao to younger members of the family as a blessing for good luck and prosperity. For people with large families, that also means forking out big amounts of money to fill the red packets.

For singles, however, the trouble isn’t with costly hongbao expenditure, but in the incessant concern over whether you are attached, or when you’re getting hitched. It’s easy to brush it off with a joke once or twice, but when every aunt, uncle and cousin you meet is cornering you with the same questions, it becomes a serious pain in the neck and returning home alone year after year becomes increasingly difficult.

Getting someone to pose as your boyfriend or girlfriend is nothing new, but a young man in Hangzhou jazzed up the faux partner business with an attractive remuneration package of 1,000,000 Chinese yuan for a seven-day “show” and even promised to pay for air tickets to and from his hometown in Shenzhen, Southern China.

Using the screen name 大默飛鷹百萬現金租女友 (literally meaning “large silent eagle renting a girlfriend with a million bucks”), the millionaire made a post on Weiju, a Chinese social website, looking to rent a sweet-looking “girlfriend” aged 25 or younger. Girls interested to apply for the position also have to be taller than 168cm (5′ 5″), weigh less than 50kg (110 lbs) and hold at least a bachelor’s degree. The “recruitment” details also mentioned that girls who hold a PhD or are virgins will be given priority in the selections, and can expect a 10% bonus as well. Apparently more than 5,000 girls have sent in their application.

▼ Is he trying to find a girlfriend, or Miss China?
Miss-Universe-China-winner-again

While detailed criteria were listed for the ideal candidate, information about the rich bachelor was sparse. Apart from a photograph of himself posing with stacks of money, no personal details were disclosed, seemingly because he didn’t wish for his parents to find out about the expensive trick he had up his sleeve. Some netizens were quick to doubt the authenticity of the post, pointing out that it would be ironic to create such a big hoo-ha online if he had really wanted to keep it under wraps.

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News of the million-dollar girlfriend selection spread like wildfire across Chinese websites, with netizens sharing the information more than 30 million times across multiple local social networking services. The exorbitant recruitment attempt not only attracted thousands of applicants, it also stirred up a storm of comments from Chinese netizens:

“Just seven days of acting to earn a million (Chinese yuan), that’s as good as an A-list celebrity.”
“Even the rich are renting girlfriends–regular guys are doomed!”
“Posing as his girlfriend for seven days earns as much as 15 years of slogging without meals!”
“I hate myself for not being a woman, now I’ve missed a chance to marry into a wealthy family.”
“Is this a hoax to get attention?”
“If I had a million [Chinese yuan], I would buy a wife and bring her home. Why rent?!”

Unfortunately, the massively successful recruitment drive eventually became a nuisance to the “silent eagle”, and he cancelled the request a couple of days later, stating that the unexpected volume of response had caused overwhelming stress for him.

Hoax or not, it seems that there’s a price to pay for everything, even for (an attempt at) spending too much money! Just to satisfy our curiosity, how many of you reading this actually fit the bill (or know someone who does) to be the million-dollar “girlfriend”? Leave us a comment!

Source: ETToday
Reference: Youxun Your Info
Images: ETToday, Beijing Cream