Almost a decade has passed since the hit sitcom Friends left our television screens. But the show has never been far from one man’s thoughts.

Du Xin has opened a mini replica of the show’s Central Perk café in Beijing, China. Tucked away on the sixth floor of an office block, the café features the same orange couch, window and doorway and plays re-runs of Friends.

Du Xin, whose nickname is Gunther after the ‘Friends’ character who runs Central Perk, told National Public Radio: ‘I’m crazy about Friends. For me, it’s like a religion. It’s my life.’

The café serves the same snacks mentioned in the show and the menus are filled with fun facts and details from the series.

And, it seems like Mr Xin’s idea has caught on, as a second Central Perk recently opened in Shanghai. His obsession doesn’t stop there, however.

Du Xin has built a replica of the apartment that the character Joey lived in and it even has an identical foosball table, DVDs of the TV show Baywatch and an oversized cabinet similar to the one Joey made.

The show is popular in China because it serves as a tool for learning English and is an introduction to American culture.

People dream about the laid-back, friendship-filled lifestyle it portrays which is a far cry from the stressful and competitive world that young Chinese people inhabit.

Du Xin said: ‘That’s why we like Friends. We’re looking for this kind of life.’ He added: ‘I learned a lot from Friends: how to treat friends, girlfriends, my wife, how to be generous, how to be gentle.’
杜鑫这样说:“这就是我们喜欢《老友记》的原因,那就是我们想要的生活。” 他继续表示:“我从《老友记》中学到了很多:如何对待朋友,如何对待女朋友,如何看待生活,如何做一个热情大方、温文尔雅的人。”

Friends fans come from all over China to visit Central Perk. Qiu Yu, who lives in Beijing, took a friend visiting from Taiyuan.

For Qiu Yu, the main attraction of the show is that six friends live on their own, away from the constraints of their families.

She said: ‘I think their lives are very free, very happy. They can do whatever they like. For Chinese people the influence of our families is quite big. So we yearn for that lifestyle.’