China is well known as the home of the rented boyfriends and rented bridesmaids, but now stand-in parents are offering their services, for when you just can't abide teachers – or lovers – meeting the real ones.
Offering stand-in help for anything from a tricky school parents' evening to that awkward first encounter between the new girlfriend and mum and dad, fake parents believe they can ward off potential social catastrophes – temporarily at least.
"Do you have a boyfriend or girlfriend who wants to meet your parents but you actually don't want them to meet?" asks one advert on the Chinese Internet.
The Global Times newspaper, which said the service is usually charged at 50 yuan (£5.60) an hour - spoke to a rent-a-parent who takes his "profession" very seriously indeed.
"I study psychology," the fake dad told the newspaper. "No matter how nasty your teacher gets, I won't get angry."
Young Chinese who are seeking fake parents are also posting on the Chinese web, the Telegraph reported.
"A rented parent is needed," said one comment. "Just need to make a phone call to my teacher."
Another asked: "Is there anyone in Shanghai who can be rented as parents to have a meal with my girlfriend?"
China is experiencing massive social changes, but most people are still deeply conservative.
Many marriages are arranged – even in the modern cities – and parents are often involved in their children's relationships from an early stage.
It is unclear how many of the postings relating to 'rented parents' are people authentically seeking help, but China has a booming trade in renting people for a range of 'personal' services.
Boyfriends and girlfriends are rented over the New Year holiday period by singletons who want to put a stop to intrusive questions from parents.
Bridesmaids are also for hire in China, where wedding's can often get out of hand and bridesmaids can be subjected to sexual harassment and physical abuse.
Chinese media also reported this week the growing trend of people using 'rent me' apps to offer themselves as friends.