Chinese girls look for Mister Right in online apartment share

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The Independent Online

Chinese Blog reports that girls in their country are testing men's capabilities of living together on a website called iPartment.

Essentially, the website takes online dating to the next level, letting users 'test-drive' each other in a virtual apartment, with obligations ranging from feeding the dog to maintaining the garden or going shopping.

In a set-up ressembling 'online-living' games such as The Sims, girls are mainly drawn to iPartment through its decorative features: for a small fee, the apartment comes with optional add-ons including flowers, pets, and choices of interior design.

And boys are always where the girls are, which is why the concept works, says CNReviews: the site has attracted 20 million users (and almost two million more in Taiwan), 60 percent of whom are female, and now features ads by leading brands such as L'Oreal, Starbucks, or Adidas, according to the website.

Inside Social Games reports that the site's founders might be eyeing Facebook applications next.

The China Daily first reported about the new venture back in 2006 when it was launched. "Young people who feel lonely and would like to have a sense of connection with someone, but cannot find ideal partners in the real world, are more likely to get into the iPartment world," Wu Yan, an iPartment public relations manager, told the paper back then.

And a female student registered on iPartment said: "If the relationship with my boyfriend (on iPartment) deepens, I might go out and see him someday."