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Cops Killed China’s Short-Lived Sex Doll Sharing App

Chinese app Taqu was fined by the authorities.

Samantha Cole

Image: Shutterstock

Well, that was fun while it lasted. The Chinese app that made tabloid headlines last week for its sex doll rental service—think Citibike, but for a plastic woman you can bone and return—shut down that feature after the cops charged the company for "disrupting public order."

Beijing-based Taqu, branded in English as "Touch," unveiled its line of sex dolls on Thursday with pop-up presentations and condom giveaways. Five types of doll were available: "Greek bikini model," "US Wonder Woman," "Korean housewife," "Russian teenager," and "Hong Kong car race cheerleader." For just 298 yuan a day, a lonely heart could rent one of these silicon women, or pay 1,298 yuan and a 8,000 yuan deposit to spend a week with it. The company would remove and clean the "lower parts" before sending it back out the door to the next lucky customer.

Doll-swapping was just one aspect of the app: It also sells sex toys and condoms, and serves as a forum for 500,000 active users, according to Zheng Ying, a spokesperson for the company.

Image: Screenshot from Taqu

Zheng told me over email and WeChat that they created the app five years ago with the mission of helping people in China talk openly about sex and experiment with their fantasies, anonymously. The unveiling of the sex doll rental feature was just the latest in their work toward revolutionizing how Chinese citizens view sex—but it only lasted four days before the police fined them and they shut it down.

"Because of the renting dolls, the police call us and said it's vulgar, and give us a punishment," Zheng said. The fine was around 2,000 yuan. "After careful consideration, we decided to voluntarily shut down the lease of the doll business. Because our company is a listed company, we must be careful."

"But the Taqu app will go on, we will find a new way to popularize the sex interest culture," Zheng said. "And we think everyone have [the] right to talk about sex."

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