Desperate spouses in China who are seeking an amicable end to their partners’ transgressions are hiring “mistress hunters” — trained professionals that are sent undercover to “accidentally” meet and dissuade the third party in a marriage to put an end to an affair, The Paper reported (link in Chinese).
The “mistress hunters” — like those employed by Shanghai Weiqing Network Technology — can charge hourly rates from 800 to 1,000 yuan ($115.74 to $144.67), and they are private investigators and marriage counselors combined. The company’s founder, 49-year-old former journalist Shu Xin, earns up to 3,000 yuan ($433.91) per hour.
Therapists evaluate the crises within the marriage and work out a way to maintain it, while “mistress hunters” — mostly women psychology, sociology or law graduates — use psychological methods to persuade third parties to end affairs.
Shanghai Weiqing Network Technology has made it big in China, where it has filed to list its shares on China’s over-the-counter stock market, the National Equities Exchange and Quotations (NEEQ).
The company claims to have salvaged 350,000 marriages, and separated 168,500 third parties, with a total revenue of 17.7 million yuan (about $2.6 million) in the first ten months of last year. “Weiqing” — which means “defending love” in Chinese — has 59 offices across China.
“Mistress hunting” takes up nearly 87 percent of the company’s revenue, according to documents it submitted to the NEEQ, which The Paper — a state-run news outlet — picked up on last month.
Shanghai Weiqing’s top five clients have paid up to to 3.6 million yuan ($520,697) to salvage their marriages, according to company filings.
In an interview with AFP, Shu Xin said that his goal was to prevent divorce. “Mistresses are global. But specifically in China, they are kept women: the husbands, often rich, pay for luxury apartments, cars and luxury products,” he said. “If we fail, then we repay the entire amount.”
Shanghai Weiqing’s rise comes as divorce rates in China rose for 12 consecutive years — as Chinese couples increasingly use chat apps like WeChat and dating apps like Momo to seek an extramarital affair. Over 3 million couples divorced in 2015, according to the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs.