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Need a bodyguard? App is coming

By Xie Chuanjiao in Qingdao, Shandong | China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-21 07:24

People in Qingdao, Shandong province, may soon enjoy a privilege that was once the exclusive domain of business tycoons, big stars and emperors.

An app to connect you with a personal bodyguard is expected to be released early next month.

The app, Jinyiwei, is named for a network of the secret police in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) who were under the direct orders of the emperor. Many of its members are portrayed in books and movies as tall, handsome kung fu masters.

With the Jinyiwei app, bodyguard services are no longer the exclusive privilege of moguls. When you log on and make a phone call, your personal bodyguard is on the way. It's as easy as calling a taxi.

"The app has unified more than 50,000 security staff members in 47 companies in the city. Their availability will be indicated in the app's map in real time," said Li Shangshang, one of the app's co-developers.

Prices are expected to range from 70 to 200 yuan ($10.50 to $30) an hour, depending on the services required and the experience of the personnel. Many of the bodyguards have military backgrounds, Li said.

"Our employees need to upload their ID cards, military discharge certificates and permits," he said. "They are also required to take manners and etiquette training classes and wear a uniform at work."

The app targets mainly two customer groups: individuals and companies.

"Those who don't feel safe, especially when going somewhere uncertain or when carrying valuables, can log on and send requests," Li said. "Those who are confronted with disputes or harassment but feel it's inconvenient to have police intervene, can try the app, and the right helpers will respond."

Li said that enterprises and organizations also need security services, such as those engaged in the transfer of valuable goods, receiving VIP guests or even emergencies such as a first-aid situation.

Li added that all the services will be provided in compliance with laws and regulations.

"Jinyiwei bodyguards are responsible for customers' safety. If there is a dispute or fight, they need to cooperate with police instead of escalating the fight," Li said. They are not there to provoke or fight, he said.

Yan Bing, the app's co-developer, said the app is seen as an effective way to upgrade the country's security sector via the internet and provide more job opportunities, especially for ex-members of the military.

"We are planning to expand our business network to more cities and even overseas," Yan said, adding that many Chinese enterprises operating businesses abroad are in need of security and escort services.

The developers are also considering a plan to offer quick loan services in their new version of the app.

"Many disputes result from shortages of money, and funding support can help enterprises overcome difficulties," Yan said.


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