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Imagine if, instead of having to deal with holiday hangovers, you could hire a guy who follows you around all night and downs every glass of spiked eggnog for you? A Beijing tech company just introduced an app that allows users to do exactly that. With eDaihe—the name translates to “to drink on behalf of”—people can hire “surrogate drinkers” to do all the heavy drinking for them, so they don’t have to deal with the repercussions of a typical night out.
Why go out at all if you’re not drinking? Drinking in China is a cornerstone of the social ecosystem (somewhat similar to the United States, in some respects). From business meetings to social hangouts, drinking is a crucial part of gatherings that typically last hours. Guests often eat and drink in large quantities, and, as Newsweek puts it, “it is often the last one standing who earns the respect of the host.”
This app eases that pressure by allowing users to hire an on-demand liver. Before heading to an event, people can get connected to surrogate drinkers who will follow them for the evening, consuming their drinks. The app links the user and their surrogate based on location. Those signing up to be surrogates advertise themselves though Tinder-esque profiles including their gender, a photo, an introduction, and a description of how much booze they can hold down. According to South China Morning Post, one surrogate claimed to be an “Olympian on the drinking battlefield,” able to drink nine shots baiju (a popular Chinese grain liquor), three bottles of beer, and a dozen bottles of wine in one sitting.
100,000 people signed up for eDaihe in its first 24 hours, according to the company. The creator of the app, a startup called eDaijia, is also responsible for launching the largest designated-driving service in China. Demand for these kinds of services is high because of the aforementioned culture of social drinking, and a boom in China’s alcohol industry, which secures about $2.4 billion in revenue a year.
The app is available in 33 cities in China. Unfortunately for those in the U.S., this New Year’s Eve the only liver you’ll have is your own.