Personal bodyguard app to launch in northeast China

By News from Elsewhere... found by BBC Monitoring

Image source, PEAR VIDEO
Image caption,
The app's name, Jinyiwei, comes from the name of a group of secret police during the Ming Dynasty

An app is set to launch in a northeast Chinese city that allows anybody - not just the rich and famous - to hire a personal bodyguard, it's reported.

The Jinyiwei app, which is set to launch in Qingdao in September, provides an Uber-like service, and connects individuals and companies citywide with over 50,000 staff from 47 security companies.

It provides bodyguards for anyone who feels unsafe, and according to Qingdao News, will help those who are particularly concerned about transporting valuables. App users can see the availability of bodyguards across the city in real time, making the service similar to many taxi application services.

English-language paper China Daily says that the price range is expected to be between 70 and 200 yuan ($10.50-£30; £8.15-£23) an hour, and is available for individuals or companies.

Li Shangshang, one of the app's developers, told the paper that the bodyguards are former military personnel, and have been required to present their ID cards and military discharge certificates or permits in order to qualify for the app.

"They have also been required to take manners and etiquette training classes, and must wear a uniform at work," he added, and says that they can co-operate with the police in the event of a fight.

The service has had mixed reaction on Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo. Many say that it is a "good idea" and "useful" for vulnerable groups.

But some ask whether it will be exploited by "lonely" single women seeking to find a partner.

Another user asks pointedly, "If you have this, then what's the point of the police?"

Image source, PEAR VIDEO
Image caption,
Li Shangshang, one of the app developers says that the app will help "those who don't feel safe"

Reporting by Kerry Allen

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