By Benjamin Cost
A new iPhone app offering info on massage services in Dongguan has raised concerns that it might be a roadmap to prostitution. Shanghai Daily reports:
The Dongguan Massage Guide debuted on Apple’s online store last Friday. It leads users to massage services which are believed to offer prostitution in the south Chinese city known for its massage parlors and beauty salons. The application costs 30 yuan (US$4.76) in China’s App Store and US$4.99 in the US store.
If that wasn’t evidence enough, the app also provides info on how many women are in each parlor, and which ones will give you the best full body oil-pressure rubdowns and airplane abuse services. Not to mention that users can use the app to call the massage parlors directly.
Dongguan is a hub for businessmen from Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong (who will presumably have ample “layover” time away from their wives).
Apple’s approval of the app has predictably drawn quite a bit of criticism from industry insiders who state, “the existence of the massage app reflects the limits of Apple’s regulation of the store.”
And Apple will have a hell of a time smoothing this issue over:
It could be some time before Apple deletes the application. It advises users to report problems through [email protected] and promises action only after an investigation finds something wrong.
Users seem to have welcomed the application with reviews on the App Store saying it “will be extremely useful” or “it will be better with uploading pictures of ladies.” Some online forums have provided free downloads of the app.
KDS online regulators pledge they’re doing everything in their power to solve the problem from filtering all guide posts on massage spots suspected of soliciting prostitution to prohibiting massage venues from providing their contact details.
One regulator stated, “we are watching the pornographic content and such ‘guide’ posts very carefully”.
iPhone features have arguably fallen a long way from Siri, the multilingual voice input AI, and the Facebook app – a downward spiral perhaps sped up by the recent suing of apple by authors who claimed their work was being pirated and sold in the App store. If Apple doesn’t enforce regulation, we might see similarly shady apps in the near future like apps on how to perform circumcisions in the comfort of your own home, or even a mapping app that’ll connect you to girls in your vicinity willing to sleep with you for an iPhone.