Hmm. This exists:

In the sharing economy of the Wild East it seems anything is rentable. A newly-launched app in China is proving this with its offering of shared sex dolls.

Xiamen-based app developer Touch announced Wednesday that it has started a limited trial run in Beijing that allows users to choose a plastic partner for home delivery.

Rentals cover 24-hours at 298 yuan ($45.5) or up to a week for 1,298 yuan and include an 8,000 yuan deposit.

The app tries to address any health concerns by explaining its hygiene policy.

“The dolls’ lower parts are changed for every customer,” reads the app. “Please remove the lower parts before returning. After the lower parts are cleaned, the doll can be used repeatedly.”

Naturally, the Western media’s first impulse has been to recoil in revulsion and craft thinly-veiled punchdowns as clickbait headlines, a cottage industry in English-language reporting on China and its sex dolls.

“There’s no way on this sweet Earth you’ll persuade me to use a sex doll sharing service,” Tech in Asia says, reasonably enough.

Mei Fong, Pulitzer-winning author of a book on China’s recently rescinded one-child policy, points out that this is a side effect of the gender imbalance created by a preference for male children:

An ex-Yahoo engineer calls it Peak Sharing Economy:

Most people just think it sounds gross.

But is there a more charitable way to look on this latest innovation in China’s expanding share-app economy?

Shenzhen-based Maker Naomi Wu has a more nuanced and ultimately illuminating take on the whole thing:

Something to think about. This certainly makes for a click-worthy headline, but the deeper story isn’t peak anything. It’s early days, really, if you connect the dots between companion robots and the exploding VR porn industry.

It’s also worth noting that social blowback from a surplus of sexually frustrated young men is not a phenomenon limited to China.

All this to say… maybe take a step back next time you wanna squeeze some cheap laughs out of sex doll sharing apps. Because they’re probably not going away.

And if you want to get a bit more education on the business and culture of sex dolls in China, here’s a useful video:

Cover photo via Global Times/Weibo

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