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Chinese internet users find new way to lose weight fast

HONG KONG — You’ve heard of personal shopping, but now some savvy Chinese internet users are offering to drink bubble tea and eat fried chicken on behalf of health-conscious but food-loving customers.

Some savvy Chinese internet users are offering to drink bubble tea and eat fried chicken on behalf of health-conscious but food-loving customers.

Some savvy Chinese internet users are offering to drink bubble tea and eat fried chicken on behalf of health-conscious but food-loving customers.

HONG KONG — You’ve heard of personal shopping, but now some savvy Chinese internet users are offering to drink bubble tea and eat fried chicken on behalf of health-conscious but food-loving customers.

Sellers film themselves eating or drinking the unhealthy foods and beverages and send the videos to buyers for the cost of the food bought, plus a 2 to 10 yuan (S$0.40 to US$2.02) “service fee”.

In the videos, sellers describe the taste of the food and the sensation of eating it to give the buyer a second-hand dining experience without the calories, Beijing Evening News reported.

“I will honestly eat and drink on your behalf! I will help you eat whatever you want! Don’t worry about getting fat, diabetes, high cholesterol, high pressure — I will take all the risks for you!” promised one listing circulating on social media.

“If you order, I will eat it. I can take a video and guarantee it will be like you’re right beside me, otherwise I will eat the same thing again!”

Another seller listed hotpot, McDonald’s, KFC, Western food, desserts, barbecued meat, Sichuan food and Cantonese food as examples of things they would eat for a fee.

One seller in Harbin, Heilongjiang province in northeastern China, sent a journalist from Pear Video several videos of a grape-flavoured bubble tea from different angles, along with a short essay describing its taste.

“The crisp and chewy textures meld together … the deep purple grapes taste sweet and rich. I like to use a straw to drink the ice cream topping which is light and refreshing, with a faint milky aroma.”

The service first gained media attention in mainland China early this month when a large number of listings offering to eat food started appearing on major e-commerce sites such as Taobao, which is owned by Alibaba, owner of the South China Morning Post.

But only a few listings now show up in searches on popular online shopping sites, suggesting the fad may be waning.

The Post paid 2 yuan for a Taobao merchant based in Suzhou, Jiangsu province in eastern China, to drink bubble tea on their behalf, but no video arrived.

The South China Morning Post paid 2 yuan for a Taobao merchant based in Jiangsu province to drink bubble tea on its behalf. Photo: South China Morning Post

“I originally put up the listing for a joke, you are the first person to order something,” said the seller, who gave his name as Chris.

“I’ll send you a photo of myself drinking bubble tea anyway, because a seller still needs to be honest! So I don’t think this kind of service is necessarily a scam.”

Chris then sent a photo of a classic bubble tea he bought from Taiwanese chain Yi Dian Dian and described the taste as “great”.

When asked about the viral trend, Chris said: “People want to lose weight immediately, but they cannot control themselves since food is too tempting [so they resort to these methods].”

The trend has also spawned nonsensical spin-offs such as selling videos of pet owners stroking their animals and people watching TV series on behalf of others. One person in Harbin even offered to sell photos of buyers’ names written in the heavy snow which had blanketed the area.

But a backlash has also arrived in the form of joke product listings for “lessons” costing 0.05 to 0.5 yuan, accompanied by a bank robber cartoon meme.

“Hello, I am a fraudster and for 0.2 yuan you can be duped!” read the description of one listing still available online. SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

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