In China, where house prices continue to rise, buying a house is considered one of the most expensive purchases one can make.
It’s probably no surprise that Chinese social media was buzzing with one particular property story last week, given the difficulty of getting on the property ladder in the country.
A person writing under the pseudonym ‘Proud Qiaoba’ posted a blog on the popular blogging platform “Tian Ya Yi Du.”
Qiaoba’s story would have seemed like the plot of an average airport romance novel if we hadn’t been able to verify it ourselves.
Xiaoli (not her real name) is the lead character in Proud Qiaoba’s account.
In southern China, Xiaoli, a woman from Shenzhen, asked each of her 20 boyfriends to buy her an iPhone 14. She used the money to buy a house in the countryside after selling all of her phones to a mobile phone recycling site called Hui Shou Bao for 120,000 Chinese yuan (about £14,500).
In the blog post, proud Qiaoba wrote that when Xiaoli showed their friends her new house, they were all surprised to learn how she had obtained the deposit money.
Everyone in the office is talking about this now,” wrote Proud Qiaoba, “who knows what her boyfriends think now.”
She said she was the oldest daughter of a migrant worker family, and her mother is a housewife and her father is a migrant worker. Her parents are getting old and she might be under a lot of pressure to buy them a house… But it is still unbelievable that she could use this method!”
Many people on China’s microblogging site Sina Weibo have been expressing their surprise at Xiaoli’s enterprise and quick work in convincing her 20 lovers to each buy her the latest in Apple’s mobile category – especially since the iPhone 14 was only recently launched.
In a matter of days, the hashtag ’20 mobiles for a house’ became the country’s top trend. It has been used more than 13 million times.
Xiaoli has received praise from many social media users, such as ‘small sand is growing’.
The only problem I have is finding a boyfriend. She can find 20 at the same time and even get them to buy her an iPhone. I wish she would teach me such skills.”
According to another, ‘TST,’ she has a bright future because of her enterprising nature.
Others haven’t been so positively complimentary.
Xiaoli is described as “the most shameless person” by “Little Bee”.
Others questioned whether the story was an elaborate product placement for Hui Shou Bao, a company that recycles mobile phones.
In an interview with Storyline, a spokesperson for Hui Shou Bao confirmed that the company had purchased 20 iPhones from a female client for 6,000 Chinese yuan (about £725) each.
After requesting an interview with Xiaoli through the company, they responded that they had asked their client if she would be willing to speak with us, but she declined.
Her day-to-day life has been affected (by the local media attention) and she does not want the media to continue covering the story,” they said, “so she turned down your interview request.”
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