Against the backdrop of increasing property prices in China, a particular property story made waves on Chinese social media last week.
A user by the name of Proud Qiaoba posted the story on popular Tian Ya Yi Du forum about her friend Xiaoli who had asked each of her 20 current boyfriends to buy her the newly launched iPhone 7, reported the BBC.
Xiaoli (not her real name), who hails from southern Shenzhen, then sold all the 20 iPhones to a mobile phone recycling site called Hui Shou Bao for 115,010 yuan (S$23,571) before using the money to pay for the deposit for a countryside house.
Proud Qiaoba and her friends were all very surprised when Xiaoli showed them her new house and revealed how she had obtained the money, BBC reported.
"Everyone in the office is talking about this now," wrote Proud Qiaoba. "Who knows what her boyfriends think now this news has become public."
Proud Qiaoba also mentioned that Xiaoli "is not from a wealthy family". Her mother is a housewife and her father is a migrant worker, and she is the oldest daughter, it was reported.
"Her parents are getting old and she might be under a lot pressure hoping to buy them a house... But it's still unbelievable that she could use this method!" Proud Qiaoba wrote.[[nid:328927]]
Netizens on China's microblogging website Weibo have expressed their surprise at Xiaoli's enterprise and ability to convince all her 20 lovers to each buy her an iPhone. An impressive feat, considering the phone was only launched on Sept 16.
The hashtag '20 mobiles for a house' (translated from Chinese) soon began to circulate on Weibo and became China's top trending topic. The hashtag has been used more than 13 million times since.
Some users have expressed admiration for Xiaoli's efforts.
One of them, 'small sand is growing', wrote: "I can't even find one boyfriend. She can actually find 20 boyfriends at the same time and even get them to buy her an iPhone 7. Just want to ask her to teach me such skills."
Others however, like 'Little Bee' commented that Xiaoli was 'the most shameless person'.
Some also suspected that the whole story was a marketing ploy by mobile phone recycling business Hui Shou Bao.
BBC confirmed that the company had purchased 20 iPhones from a female client at the start of October, paying about 5,750 yuan for each phone.
However, a request by the BBC to interview Xiaoli through the company was rejected.
"Her day-to-day life has been affected (from the local media attention) and she doesn't want the media to continue covering this story," they said, "so she has turned down your interview request."
This article was first published on Oct 31, 2016.
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