Page last updated at 11:19 GMT, Wednesday, 21 January 2009

New Year partners wanted in China

By Chris Hogg
BBC News, Shanghai

Liu Facai
Liu Facai says he feels uncomfortable alone at parties

Young single Chinese are advertising on the internet for temporary partners they can take home over Chinese New Year to please their parents.

Liu Facai, from Zhejiang province in eastern China, told the BBC he has had more than 400 responses in three days.

He offered girls a total of 9,500 yuan ($1,400) to pretend to be his girlfriend over the holiday period.

His advertisement includes daily schedules and safety precautions to reassure any potential partner.

Social pressure

Chinese New Year is a time to return home and celebrate with your family.

But if you're in your late 20s or 30s and single, it can be stressful.

Many women feel under pressure to get married by their 30th birthday, and have placed dozens of advertisements on internet forums looking for temporary mates.

But men too are looking for partners.

"I feel sad to spend spring festival alone. Of course I have pressure - everyone has such pressure," 31-year-old sales manager Liu Facai told the BBC.

"When I go to a friend's wedding, I feel the pressure, and when I go to a party, I feel uncomfortable to be alone."

In the beginning he offered 1,200 yuan ($170) a day, but did not get many responses, so he raised the price to 3,600 yuan ($510) a day.

Mr Liu has already met 20 potential candidates - he says his price is very competitive.

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