May 22, 2024
AI Boyfriend

Chinese Women Embrace AI Boyfriends for Companionship

In China’s fast-paced and urbanized society, loneliness has become a prevalent issue for many young women. To combat this, a growing number of Chinese women are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) platforms to fulfill their need for companionship. One example is the app called Glow, developed by Shanghai start-up MiniMax, which offers users the opportunity to interact with chatbot boyfriends.

Tufei, a 25-year-old office worker from Xi’an, describes her AI boyfriend as kind, empathetic, and a better conversationalist than a real man. She confides in him about her personal and professional problems, and feels like she is in a romantic relationship with him. The app is free to use, while additional paid content is available.

Wang Xiuting, a 22-year-old student in Beijing, reveals that it is difficult to meet the ideal boyfriend in real life due to personality differences and frequent conflicts. This is where artificial intelligence offers an advantage – it gradually adapts to the user’s personality, providing emotional support and suggesting solutions to problems. Wang has several AI lovers on an app called Wantalk, created by the Chinese internet giant Baidu. Users can choose from a variety of character options, such as pop stars, CEOs, and knights, or customize their perfect partner based on age, values, identity, and hobbies.

The need for companionship and emotional support is particularly significant in China due to long work hours and a sense of uncertainty about the future. High youth unemployment and a struggling economy add to the concerns of young Chinese individuals. With the ability to create a virtual character that meets their exact needs, some users express a preference for AI partners over real people.

Although the technology has its limitations, with a noticeable time lag between questions and answers, the responses are described as realistic. However, the AI industry in China lacks significant regulation, especially when it comes to user privacy. The government in Beijing is working on a law to strengthen consumer protection in relation to AI technology.

Despite these concerns, Tufei, a user of the Glow app, has high hopes for the future. She dreams of having a robot boyfriend operated by artificial intelligence, with the ability to provide warmth. This growing trend of embracing AI companions among Chinese women reflects a desire for emotional support and a remedy for loneliness in a society characterized by a fast pace of life and urban isolation.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it