One time, I saw a pretty girl wearing a white coat emblazoned with Arsenal football club logos. The first trains start at 5am, and most shut by 11pm.There are 17 lines, and it is mooted that the fare will be increased to four yuan (around 38p) in order to ease some of the congestion. Weixin, which means "tiny message" uses geolocation to track and message other app users within a one kilometer radius to "engineer" an encounter with a stranger around Beijing's high-end offices and hotels. The instant messaging service has a lion's share of China's registered users already signed up with QQ, and that means Weixin is an option for more than 711 million active accounts.
Many of them are hot enough to become models and actresses.
If I found a willing dater I would win the bet, and no small amount of kudos, and if not, then at least it'd make a good yarn. I noticed just how many more men there seemed to be on the trains than women – professionals, migrants and young men.
That's one of the first things I noticed about the subway, the migrants who often have journeyed to the capital from rural lands. They wear tattier clothes covering weathered skin, and they often carry great bundles, perhaps containing all their worldly possessions.
At first, I attempted small talk: "I like your shoes", 'Hey, that's a nice jacket", I'd offer in Chinese. "Your coat, it's an Arsenal coat", I explained, pointing at the logos. I just liked the coat, I'm not an Arsenal supporter", she said, and turned away. As the week passed, I found it hard going – I tried to attempt conversation, sometimes it went all right, but mostly people thought me a crazy person for trying to chat.
The Chinese women I talked to would smile and nod and then return to looking at their mobile phones. Getting a phone number or We Chat code (China's version of Whats App) might have been easier if I was more brazen and blunt about it, but it felt like breaking some social law.