Beijing: In a bid to avoid the pain of ending a relationship, some Chinese have now reportedly resorted to a unique way of breaking-up -- outsourcing the responsibility to a middleman.
At least 40 such "break-up agents" now advertise their skills in gently splitting couples on Taobao, China's answer to Ebay, daily online reported.
"Get rid of a difficult partner!" advertises one agent. "Keep damage to a minimum," assures another.
For roughly 300 yuan, the equivalent of around 30 pounds, the relationship killers offer everything from a soft let-down by phone or an email to an active attempt to drive a wedge between lovers.
And, for those customers who opt for a "platinum" service, an agent will show up in person, perhaps with a small gift to ease the pain.
One agent, based in Zhejiang province, said he had helped around 10 couples end their romance. "We have a 100 per cent success rate or your money back," he said.
In some cases, he added that he had managed to "apply some small techniques to create misunderstanding, or conflict, between a couple and just let that seed grow slowly and naturally until there was a voluntary break-up on both sides".
The agent said this was a 20-day package: "We create the conflict in 10 days, propose a break-up in 15 and complete the deal in 20. Some people say I have no morals but I don't think this is a moral issue. I am not using any dirty tactics and this is just business."
For the broken-hearted, there is consolation elsewhere on the Chinese internet, in the shape of websites such as Kaixin Fenshou Wang, or Happy Break-up, which offer forums for up to 1,000 users at any one time to share their misery.