UPDATE (11/1/16 1:55 pm): In a heartbreaking but perhaps inevitable update, Buzzfeed now reports that the story about the heroine in China might have been fabricated. Though the BBC reported that they verified the initial story before publishing their report, Buzzfeed now says that the company to which the iPhones were sold, Huishoubao Tech, recently placed a hiring ad for a marketing manager, where one of the desirable qualities was a familiarity with "methods of media manipulation."
This casts a dubious shadow over the initial reports, but hey: it's not impossible. The dream of Xiaoli lives on for now.
See original story below.
One woman in China has reportedly used the confluence of a double digit number of boyfriends and a hot market for the new iPhone 7 to turn herself into a new homeowner. According to the BBC, a Chinese blogger rehashed the sounds-too-bad-ass-to-be-true story of a colleague who has 20 boyfriends who bought her 20 iPhone 7s, which the colleague then sold for cash to buy a house.
The blogger, who writes under the pen name Proud Qiaoba, wrote last week about her colleague, Xiaoli's (which the BBC reports is also a pseudonym) path to homeownership, a story which the BBC reports went viral last week. "Who knows what her boyfriends think now this news has become public," Qiaoba wrote.
The BBC reports that it's a tough buyer's market for houses in China, making Xiaoli's claimed accomplishment a source of pride for people who know her. Qiaoba blogged that Xiaoli "is not from a wealthy family. Her mum is a housewife and her dad is a migrant worker, and she is the oldest daughter. 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 BBC talked to a spokesperson at Hui Shou Bao, the company that reportedly bought the woman's phones. The spokesperson confirmed that the company did purchase 20 phones from one female client for about $885 each, though they refused to put the woman in touch with the media.
The story went viral on the Chinese micro-blogging site Weibo, where the BBC reports a hashtag that translates to "20 mobiles for a house" has been used over 13 million times, with many women expressing admiration for Xiaoli's romantic and financial savvy. According to the BBC, one Weibo user 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."
Some others weren't so friendly in their assessment of Xiaoli's endeavor, calling her "shameful."
But Xiaoli reportedly has a house, 20 boyfriends, and for a brief time, 20 iPhone 7s, so it seems like she's still the one coming out on top.