While most people would expect their online dates to be real humans, women in China are perfectly happy flirting with their fictional boyfriends over the phone.
Chinese woman have flocked to secure virtual dates with the male characters in a popular new game.
The bizarre trend has seen love-struck female gamers, mostly in their 20s, splurging a whopping £2.3 million in the past month while trying to woo their digital Mr Right.
Seriously popular: Millions of Chinese women have swarmed to date fictional boyfriends through newly launched mobile game, Love and Producer (screen shot above)
Female players splurge on sending virtual gifts and having phone calls with their partner in the fantasy world. The above picture shows a gamer ‘calling’ two characters in the game
Female gamers spent the money unlocking new chapters of the game, which would allow them to continue their ‘relationship’ with the same four male characters. They can ‘date’ one or all of them at the same time.
One loyal player was so obsessed she reportedly spent 100,000 yuan (£11,000) within a month on her non-existent online crush.
The hit game, called ‘Love and Producer’, was released in December.
Since its launch, over 10 million Chinese women have sent messages or chatted with their virtual partners through it.
The game’s four ‘desirable’ bachelors are presented in the form of cartoon characters, and they include a 24-year-old police officer, a 28-year-old company CEO, a 26-year-old ‘genius’ scientist and a 22-year-old ‘superstar’.
Everyone ‘dates’ the same four characters designed to be the perfect partners, including 24-year-old Bai Qi (left), a police officer and 28-year-old Li Zeyan (right), a company CEO
The four ‘desirable’ bachelors are presented in the form of cartoon characters, including Xu Mo (left), a 26-year-old ‘genius’ scientist and Zhou Qiluo (right), a 22-year-old ‘superstar’
The game has a set story line and the gamer takes up the role of the female protagonist. She needs to audition the four male characters for a TV programme in order to save her father’s production company.
As the story goes on, she would develop romantic relationships with one or all of the candidates.
Although the game is free to download, the player must carry on spending money to unlock stages or buy gifts in order to continue her ‘relationship’.
Apparently, if the player splurges enough, she could even expect phone calls from their virtual boyfriends. The messages are pre-recorded by voice actors.
A fan rented a 1,450ft skyscrapers to say ‘happy birthday’ to her ‘boyfriend’ Li Zeyan (pictured)
In a country with the world’s fastest growing mobile gaming market, the fictional dating game has certainly been a success among young women, who face high dating and marital pressure in the real world.
‘Love and Producer’ has gained over 7.1 million downloads within the first three weeks of its launch, according to a report by Jiguang, a Chinese market research company.
The number of daily active users is about two million and it’s expected to increase. The report also showed that 94.2 per cent of the users are female.
Young women face extremely high pressure to date and marry ‘successful’ men in China
While dating in the real world can be complicated, women in China spent £2.3 million in the past month trying to woo their digital Mr Right through the popular video game (file photo)
One of the game’s most frequent players, known as ‘GuaTai’, told Shenzhen Business Post that she had spent 100,000 yuan in the first month playing the game.
Another faithful gamer in January rented a 1,450-foot-tall skyscrapers in Shenzhen in order to display a massive ‘happy birthday’ message to her virtual boyfriend Li Zeyan, the fictional young CEO, reported supchina.com.
The trending ‘Love and Producer’ has even been compared to the masculine game King of Glory in terms of popularity.
The latter is a hugely popular multi-player video game billed as the ‘internet heroin’ by Chinese media.