We all have heard of China's boyfriend-for-hire business for women who need a man to introduce to their family so the clan would stop bugging her during holiday gatherings about getting married.
In Australia, a Friends for Hire enterprise will officially open on March 22. The Web site is the result of a three-month development effort by Wildside Group, a communications agency in Queensland.
The portal will offer Aussies platonic friends for hire who could charge a fee of up to $60 an hour. However, hires are not allowed to have any physical contact with their new friend.
The $60 is the fee for the friend-for-hire, while those seeking friends are charged a weekly membership fee of $5 which gives the member a choice from 1,500 pre-registered friends to choose from.
Josh Blundell, the co-founder of the site, said the service is not a matchmaking service to find a romantic partner or to solicit sexual services. He said the friend services could vary depending on the need such as companionship for a new migrant or visitor to the city, a workout buddy, a new language practice conversationalist or a phone confidant.
He said violators of the company policy on no romantic or sexual relationships would be fired.
"It's definitely not a dating website. It's for people who are lonely, without the expectation that things will move beyond a platonic friendship," Business Insider quoted Mr Blundell.
The founders believe the service would be appreciated in larger urban centres like Sydney and Melbourne where there are big numbers of transients and dense populations and it is quite difficult to join groups with friendships already formed.