The dating game in China

The dating game in China


Single ladies watch a video of a male contestant during a recording of the popular Chinese matchmaking show "If You Are the One" - just one example of the dating culture that has grown up in China, where busy work schedules and the existence of more boys than girls can make it hard to find a partner. The show has 24 single women and five bachelors in every episode. The men show three videos giving details of their job, romantic experiences and friends' opinions, to try to win a date.

. Beijing, China. Reuters/Grace Liang

Anxious parents look at profile boards of possible candidates to find future partners for their children at a matchmaking event at a park in Beijing. The boards display their names, photos, age, income and occupation among other details. The event is held during the Chinese Lunar New Year holidays.

Finding love no bed of roses for Chinese men

Finding one's better half can be a tricky business in modern-day China, with hectic work schedules, nagging parents and a gender imbalance conspiring to make selecting a partner a nightmare for single men.

According to the recent "2010 China Marriage and Relationship Survey Report," 260 million Chinese are looking for love - 180 million singles and 80 million concerned parents.

Eager singles swamped matchmaking events held in Beijing during the Chinese New Year holidays, with an estimated 50,000 people attending a week-long event in the capital's Ditan Park, according to organiser, a popular matchmaking website with over 40 million registered members.

"I am the third oldest in my family, and everyone has a girlfriend except for me," said 29-year-old insurance worker Chen Nan, who said he felt pressure to step up the search for a wife.

"Whenever there are get-togethers with university classmates and relatives they ask questions like 'Why don't you have a girlfriend' or 'Are you going to have one next year?' So there really is a lot of pressure," he said.

Men and women taking part in the event, mainly white-collar workers in their late 20s and early 30s, flirted and exchanged phone numbers and pieces of paper.

According to, over 70 percent of participants were in fact anxious parents hoping to fix up children too busy or shy to meet the opposite sex.

An army of 50-somethings browsed rows of sheets of paper strung up between trees showing singles' personal information, jotting down details.

Some compared details with other parents, held signs up promoting sons and daughters, or organised dates on their behalf.

"My son is very busy with work - not just busy, but extremely busy. He has to work overtime a lot and doesn't have opportunities to meet girls," said a woman who gave her name as "Mrs. Li" and had a 26-year-old son who was an IT worker.

"I don't know if he is worried, but I am quite worried. That's why when I saw the event, I rushed straight in."

The 30-year-old one-child policy has exacerbated China's gender imbalance, with the latest figures showing that 119 boys are born for every 100 girls.

As a result, more than 24 million bachelors could find themselves without spouses by 2020, according to a report from the Chinese Institute of Social Sciences, which attributed the imbalance to gender-selective abortions as a result of traditional preferences for male children.

. Shanghai, China. Reuters/Carlos Barria

A woman shows a profile page during a matchmaking event at People's Square in downtown Shanghai. The event was organised by dating companies and parents hoping to find prospective mates for their children during the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, a day before couples around the world celebrate Valentine's day on February 14.

. Shanghai, China. Reuters/Aly Song

A woman takes a photo of one of the bachelors' information cards posted on a wall during a blind date party in Shanghai. The event was targeted at singles under the age of 35 looking to find a partner.

. Shanghai, China. Reuters/Aly Song

Participants at the blind date party wait for an interview. The event was held a day after November 11, 2011, or Super Bachelors Day which has six 1s in the date.


Blind date participants interview each other at the event, which attracted about 10,000 hopeful young singles, according to local media.


At the blind date party interviews, the odds could be tough for young men, as there is a growing gender imbalance in China, with more boys being born in the country than girls.


Participants looking for love at the blind date party shake hands on a bridge.