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July 8, 2013

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Taobao offers option to hire someone to visit parents

DON'T have time to visit your elderly parents? No problem, just hire someone to go on your behalf.

At least one vender on, China's biggest e-commerce website, where one can seemingly find any product or service, is offering to visit parents for 100 yuan (US$16.30) per hour.

The service sprouted up after a new seniors' rights law came into effect on July 1 and states that children need to visit or contact their elderly parents regularly.

The service targets people who are too busy or have a bad relationship with their parents. Experts said the service is at odds with the intent of lawmakers.

"We offer services such as chatting, celebrating birthdays and even performances," a Taobao storekeeper whose username is "ygwcj1985" told Shanghai Daily.

The Zhejiang Province-based storekeeper charges 100 yuan per hour, excluding transportation and extra payments for activities or gifts.

"We have a professional team but you have to tell us topics they like to start a good chat," the storekeeper said.

Few people have paid for the new service, according to the shopkeeper's sales record that appears on

"Hiring someone else to visit your parents or other elderly family member is so artificial," said Zhang Minghao, a 22-year-old Shanghai resident.

Zhang said it would be difficult to implement the law but the intention was good. His opinion was echoed by many lawyers and law experts.

Fu Minrong, a lawyer with Shanghai New Wenhui Law Firm, said the service has similarities to those hiring a girlfriend or boyfriend to meet their parents, who often nag adult children to settle down and marry.


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