Twenty-five-year-old Chinese office worker Tufei says her boyfriend has everything she could ask for in a romantic partner: He's kind, empathetic, and sometimes they talk for hours.

Except he isn't real.

Her "boyfriend" is a chatbot on an app called "Glow," an artificial intelligence platform created by Shanghai start-up MiniMax that is part of a blossoming industry in China offering friendly — even romantic — human-robot relations.