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Shopping-weary Chinese find refuge in souped-up man caves
[SHANGHAI] It's a familiar sight in shopping malls around the world - weary-looking men dutifully following their wives from store to store.
But China may have the solution: so-called "husband rest booths".
While their partners shop, users can retire to the glass-encased kiosks, which contain a comfortable massage chair and an elevated screen for playing computer games or watching television.
Its makers say the futuristic mini man-caves are a first in China and they have installed four in a high-end mall in Shanghai at a cost of 40,000 yuan (S$8,073) each.
You can reserve the pod in advance via a mobile phone app, and it costs nothing to use at the moment.
In English, each has the words: "Private Lounge. Waiting for you in the bar." Owen Wei, project manager at makers Ingrem, a Shanghai company, said if the first batch proved popular they would roll out more at malls in the city.
"Some men don't like to go shopping or stay with their wives, and prefer to play games or watch television," he told AFP at the enormous Global Harbor mall, where one husband lay slumped in a nearby booth shooting aliens.
Not everyone is a fan, however. On one recent day most of those visiting the pods were teenagers, members of the media and curious onlookers.
One husband said he preferred his wife's company, while Liu Tianguo said his partner did not approve of the scheme.
"I told my wife, 'I'll be here. You go shopping and you'll find me here,'" said Liu.
"It's comfortable and I can have a rest while she spends my money. She was ok with it - as long as I don't stay here too long."