Young Chinese turn to accompanying services to deal with stress
Published: Jan 13, 2022 05:18 PM

A view of Alipay and WeChat apps on a mobile phone Photo: Zhang Hongpei/GT

A view of Alipay and WeChat apps on a mobile phone Photo: Zhang Hongpei/GT

As accompanying services are becoming more and more prevailing, young people in China are using them in a variety of ways from finding help with studies to improving physical fitness. This business is penetrating every aspect of the life of young people in society.

Zhou Chen (pseudonym) recently finished her graduate program with Manchester University in the UK. Due to COVID-19, she was forced to take the program online from home in East China's Jiangxi Province. Finding it lonely and difficult to study on her own in her room, she began seeking out other students who were facing a similar situation. Not long after, she found an online self-study room where everyone could study at the same time and keep each other company. 

"It wasn't hard to find this service as many apps now have similar functions. So I chose an app that has a virtual study room where people can join and study together," Zhou told the Global Times.

"Everyone supervises each other together, which made me feel much more comfortable and allowed me to devote myself to my studies."

Zhou's story is only the tip of the iceberg. According to a survey conducted by China Youth Daily in December 2021, a total of 58.7 percent of young people surveyed said they have used accompanying services. 

Accompanying fitness is another large requirement. For Liming, although she had the habit of exercising for a period of time, her exercise was not systematic enough. That was when she met a fitness coach who also extended his business into accompanying fitness service through a friend's introduction, and she decided to ask him to accompany her for outdoor runs.

"He has been a coach with excellent professional knowledge. He will tell me a lot of basic skills, such as how to warm up, run at constant pace, and stretch my body after the end. He will also recommend a suitable running plan according to my physical fitness, which made running much funnier for me."

The increasing number of psychological problems caused by everyday pressures should not be overlooked, as young people need an outlet to vent out their loneliness," said Gao Dongxu, chief analyst of a Beijing-based entertainment industry think tank.

"Because of the different levels of life pressure, more young people living alone in the big cities have more psychological problems than those in rural areas. This has been ignored by society," added Gao.

According to the China Youth Daily survey, 61.4 percent of young people felt that they were not well integrated into society and were vulnerable to feelings of loneliness.