In a tale that has elicited equal parts amusement and equal parts derision, a woman in China made her 20 boyfriends buy her an iPhone 7 apiece, which she traded in to put a deposit on a house. It is not a surprise that she was able to sell all the iPhone units she had too, considering the public's love for Apple products in the country.
The story first came to public knowledge via a blog post on Chinese platform Tian Ya Yi Du, where a user going by the name Proud Qiaoba wrote about a colleague who tricked each of her 20 boyfriends to get her an iPhone 7, which launched in the country last month. The woman, called Xiaoli on Chinese social networking website Weibo (though that is not her real name), reportedly then sold all the iPhone 7 units she had on the Hui Shou Bao website, making around CNY 120,000 (roughly Rs. 12,00,000) in the process.
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This money went into paying the down-payment for her new home in the countryside.
Proud Qiaoba wrote in the post that Xiaoli is not from a wealthy family - she is the older daughter of a migrant worker and a housewife. "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!" the post said.
The news became fodder for office gossip at Xiaoli's workplace when she called a few friends from work over to show them the house and told them the story of how she got the money to pay the deposit. Proud Qiaoba wrote in the post, "Everyone in the office is talking about this now. Who knows what her boyfriends think now this news has become public."
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But evidently this kind of publicity has affected Xiaoli. When BBC contacted her employers to get in touch with her, they were told, "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, so she has turned down your interview request."
As one would expect, Xiaoli's story caught like wildfire on social media, with 13 million people reportedly using a hashtag (that roughly translates to '20 Mobiles for a House') to share her story or comment on it.
While some people have lauded her scheme, others have not been so kind to her ways. One Internet user in China posted, "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." But another called Xiaoli "the most shameless person."