For Sale: One Life in China

CNN profiles Chen Xiao, a blogger whose life is, so to speak, on sale.

Chen Xiao had pretty much given up making her own decisions and so decided to throw open her life to the whims of China’s hundreds of millions of Internet users, known in China as netizens.

[…]Since December, Chen has been allowing others to decide what she will do each day, because, for the most part, last year was awful, she said. Her hometown was hit by blizzards, her country rocked by a devastating earthquake, friends divorced and her clothing shop went bankrupt.

[…]There are limits to what she will agree to do. She will not do anything illegal, immoral or violent, but she said that has not stopped some from asking.

Chen Xiao at Quanjude, from Sina

Chen Xiao at Quanjude, from Sina

Welcoming Mr. Ma

Welcoming Mr. Ma


Chen’s website is hosted at Taobao. On it, she lists the requirements for time buyers and posts photos of her assignments. Selectively translated by CDT:

Chen Xiao’s Remaining Time Store Offers Services To Those in Need

People’s time can be a commodity
It’s your right to arrange Chen Xiao’s life, and it’s my duty to serve you

The purchase scheme uses the following: time expenditure + material costs + transportation fees

Purchase procedure:
1. First, estimate the amount of time Chen Xiao will need, including transportation. There are three types:
(A) Example: I’d like Chen Xiao to write a big-character poster for me; I’d like Chen Xiao to send an SMS to someone; I’d like Chen Xiao to give someone a phone call. For these, buy 8 minutes of Chen Xiao’s time.
(B) I’d like Chen Xiao to visit a friend; I’d like Chen Xiao to go to a certain school; I’d like Chen Xiao to go to a certain place. For these, buy 1 hour of Chen Xiao’s time x quantity (factor in distance and course)
(C) I’d like Chen Xiao to help someone; I’d like Chen Xiao to help me buy clothes. For these, buy 1 day of Chen Xiao’s time.

2. After that, estimate the reasonable product costs.
Example: I’d like to have 295 yuan’s worth of goods. Please choose a price scale, such as 1 yuan product x 5, added to a 10 yuan product x 9, added to a 100 yuan product times 2.

3. After you have finished estimating these preparations, choose a suitable transportation cost. The transportation fees are round-trip.

Some comments left to Chen Xiao in her guestbook:


How creative! Young people have this kind of creativity … I support you!

Response: You’re young too!~~ We’re the same~~ Let’s strive hard together.


I hope you can help me take the graduate school entrance exam and help me achieve my dream. The goal is Peking University’s ancient literature studies. I reserve the three days in the last third of January: two mornings and two afternoons, and on the third day, half a day’s time. How should I charge? I’ll probably pay for registration fees and exam fees~~

Response: 2010? Reservation’s too early.


Hello Ms. Xiao! Actually, I’m very happy to see this shop of yours and immediately created one of my own in Shenzhen. I’ve always wanted to do this, but there was no systematic way to set things up. Yours is the best example. They also have such a thing in Taiwan, but I couldn’t find data, so I am taking your idea. My intention is to help people. Will you take any offense? However, I do volunteer work on Sundays.

Response: Reflect on it on your own. My idea doesn’t represent anything; I myself don’t know what’s going to become of it later.


I don’t know if the shopkeeper [Chen Xiao] is single. If she’s single, it’s possible that some guy’s going to claim her life. That wouldn’t be such a bad fate — kidding, kidding.

Response: I’m single, and that person hasn’t appeared yet, maybe because he doesn’t know how much longer I’ve got!