The world of commerce is a strange, strange place. Enterprising people wanting to make a living and earn a buck or two can think of creative ways to sell a product or service, and China is no exception.
Being a quirky country, you would think that with a strict government people are restricted from selling goods and services, but that is not the case. From live crabs that can be bought in vending machines to animal brains you can buy online, China has one of the most colorful marketplaces in the streets or on the internet.
So in today’s list, we are counting down to the 5 weirdest services you can buy in China whether it’s online or in a physical store.
#5 — Robot Chef Service
Chinese food is awesome. Each dish is a one of a kind gastronomic experience. No wonder that the cuisine has endured for thousands of years, but these days, China has stepped it up a bit more and introduced robots into the equation. Yes, robots!
Besides, everything seems to taste better when it is prepared by the skillful hands of a cold, metallic automaton and it is a growing trend in the country.
In 2011, an inventor named Cui Runquan created a robot named “Chef Cui” that is programmed to prepare shaved noodles, a popular food item in Chine where noodles are shaved by hand from a block of dough and then boiled. Selling for about $2,000 each, these Chef Cui robots are being mass produced and have sold more than 3,000 units.
A fast food chain in Shanghai, on the other hand, made the bold decision to use robots as the chefs in the kitchen. Obviously, the benefit to having these mechanized cooks is efficiency since a single robot can wash pots and pans, combine the ingredients, cook, and plate the order in three minutes. Impressive, right?
But if cooking robots aren't your cup of tea, then head on down to a place called the Dalu Robot Restaurant and have your food served by robots. Programmed like clockwork, the six server robots follow a rotation system that allows them to efficiently serve the restaurant’s twenty-one tables before returning to the kitchen for the next wave of orders.
#4 — Traffic Jam Stand-ins
With a population of 1.3 billion people, it would be a miracle if traffic runs as smooth as a well-buttered pan.
China has one of the world’s most notorious traffic jams that last for hours and even weeks! It’s no joke that traffic jams of such a magnitude can cause serious blows to businesses because of the delays they cause, but some are turning lemons into lemonade.
We have all heard of a service where others stand in line for you at the movies for that crowded midnight screening or for those hot concert tickets everyone's been waiting for.
In China, they take this in a weird yet almost practical step further. Several Chinese entrepreneurs had a big idea of creating a service where you can call someone to stand-in for you in case you get stuck in a horrible traffic jam.
The service is quite simple. When you are stuck in a potentially hopeless gridlock, all you have to do is call the service and give them your location and information. Two men on a motorcycle will arrive shortly after placing the call. The Traffic Jam Stand-in will sit in the car for you and drive it wherever you want while you ride the motorcycle there super fast!
For the meantime, the service is mostly offered around the region of Wuhan in Central China where traffic is known to be one of the worst in the country.
#3 — Hire a Boyfriend or Girlfriend
Well, technically you can’t buy a boyfriend or girlfriend, but you can rent one for a day or however long you want!
Having a relationship is a big deal in China pressuring young singles, especially during family gatherings where such questions are often asked.
This created a business opportunity where people can hire someone to be their significant other to fend off unwanted snooping from nosey relatives. The service does not come cheap, however, as prices typically are at a minimum of 1000 RMB per day. Not only that, the amount only covers the “rental” service. A boyfriend or girlfriend will be at your side for that price, but if you want to push the illusion further, additional charges will be made for things like hugs, hand holding, and the like.
Also, should the “renter” require the boyfriend or girlfriend to stay longer than a day, then he or she is responsible for accommodations, food, transportation, etc. While there might be a degree of temptation to this service, sexual favors are not part of the bargain.
#2 — Hire a White Guy
We kid you not. In China, you can actually hire a white person.
Following the same vein as “Hire a Boyfriend or Girlfriend,” renting a White person, a real-live Caucasian, serves the market of businessmen more than those who are looking for an arranged date to bring to your mom’s birthday.
In China, it is generally believed that Western businesses and businessmen are successful compared to any part of the globe and for a Chinese entrepreneur to be seen standing next to a foreign “business partner” is a sign of status and success. It’s a little bit superficial, but if it works for the system, then the people behind this is milking the cash cow quite comfortably.
With this service, Chinese businessmen, whether seasoned or fledglings, can hire an actor to stand in as a business partner at whatever function that he is required to attend. Most of the time, the actor is just asked to stand next to the one who hired him or her and not say a word, creating the illusion that he does not speak a single word of Chinese in a conspicuously Globalized world of business. In fact, these actors come armed to the teeth with fake business cards, wearing sharp suits that make them appear as big shots in their respective “industries”.
Sometimes though, the actor will be asked to play a small role such as deliver a speech. One actor named Jonathan Zatkin recalls an experience where he was paid to deliver a speech at an opening of a local jewelry store and say “how wonderful it was to work with the company for 10 years”.
Zatkin also reveals the requirements of the job are quite straightforward: You have to be White; you don’t have to know Chinese or speak unless you are asked, and you have to look like you just got off a plane when you arrive at an event.
#1 — Virgin Tea
Our top spot may not technically be a service that anyone may take advantage of, but it is something that a few entrepreneurs and large scale tea plantations have benefitted from.
One of these plantations is the Jiuhua Tea Plantation in the Henan province who has published a job posting looking for female virgins with C-cup breasts to “pick tea by grabbing the leaves with their lips and dropping them in a basket nestled between their breasts.”
According to a plantation spokesperson, this requirement follows an ancient Chinese legend about how tea leaves were delicately plucked and collected by the mouths of fairies. With this supernatural method, the tea is believed to be infused with magical properties such as the virility and purity of virgins.
Since fairies and pixies are hard to come by in a tight global economy, the Jiuhua Plantation opted to hire female virgins, believing that it will yield the same results as their elfish predecessors.
The job requirement is as equally colorful as the legend the plantation takes stock into: the women are not allowed to touch the leaves or the basket with their hands for fear of some earthly contamination. Also, on top of the rather specific C-cup requirement, women who are interested in applying for the position should not have any visible scarring, wounds, or skin conditions.
The job requirements and description could be seen as ludicrous by outsiders but what’s even more bizarre is that there actually are women who are willing to sell their services for the plantation.