Beijing: As the number of wealthy people increases in China, more and more young women have joined bodyguard training academies enduring tough sessions to get lucrative placements to protect the rich.
Once considered a male bastion, the security guard profession is attracting a growing number of women to explore new opportunities in China`s expanding landscape of wealthy.
Registration of women has been increasing, said Chen Yongqing, Director of Tianjiao International Security Academy, in Beijing which runs camps to educate and train bodyguards.
Since it was opened in 2008 the school has developed five training camps, which have attracted hundreds of applicants, including women, Chen told state-run China Daily.
More than 100 people apply to join each camp, of which, about 10 per cent are women. The training fee is about 20,000 yuan (USD 3,200). Eight women were undergoing training in the camp at present.
Shen Qinjuan, an employee at China Capital Guard Security Services, said the number of female applicants has gone up in recent years and woman bodyguards may receive a high salary if they secure a job.
"Most of our trainees will devote themselves to security guard work in communities, schools and office buildings to do basic security work," she added.
A manager named Zhao at Jingcheng Zhengyuan, a Beijing private enterprise specializing insecurity guards, said it recruits 2,000 people a year, of which about 200 are women.
The demand for both male and female body guards was in the rise in China as its rich list continued to expand.
According to Hurun Rich list last year, the country has about 250 billionaires with over USD one billion or more income and assets. China`s millionaires list crossed one million mark last year with 1.20 millionaires.
Zhao Yanru, 25, a woman trainee at Tianjiao said she was determined to be a bodyguard.
She said intensive exercise, such as pull-ups and long-distance running were very hard to endure.
"It`s hard, but I told myself to persist. After all, I`ve made the decision and want to strengthen my physical ability and learn teamwork awareness in emergency situations," she said. "I think I can do what men can do. No one forced me. It`s my choice."
Wang Wenwen, 22, used to be a judo athlete.
She said she joined the training because she thought it was cool and heard bodyguards make a good salary. "The training focuses more on thinking than physical qualities, which is different from what I expected," Wang said.
Marco Borges, 38, a coach from Portugal with almost 20 years` experience as a security guard for VIPs back home, said the key to being a bodyguard is intelligence.
"We don`t want our trainees to be big guys. We want them thinking, thinking and thinking. Some VIPs` wives and daughters also need protection, that`s why we have female trainees," he said.