Online dating becoming big business in China

By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, July 31, 2012 7:28 EDT
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Chinese online dating via AFP
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Revenues from China’s online dating market are forecast to top two billion yuan ($315 million) in 2014 as work-stressed Chinese struggle to find partners, a new report said Tuesday.

Tens of millions of single Chinese people now use match-making websites to find partners or meet new friends, said the report from Analysys International, which forecasts the market will hit 2.02 billion yuan by 2014 – double its value last year.

The industry, which is dominated by three players – zhenai.com, baihe.com and NASDAQ-listed jiayuan.com – has benefited hugely from endorsements on popular television dating shows, the report said.

Jiayuan.com says it has nearly 63 million members and Zhenai.com claims 40 million, while Baihe.com has more than 39 million users.

No official figures exist for the average age at which Chinese people now marry, but anecdotal evidence suggests that they are staying single for longer as the stress of education and work grows.

A 2010 survey by the government-backed All China Women’s Federation showed there were 180 million single men and women in the nation of more than 1.3 billion people.

There is even a new phrase “Sheng Nu,” or “Unwanted Girls,” for well-educated and financially independent women who remain single.

The term, which is unique to China and which only applies to women, appears in the nation’s official dictionary and refers to “all single woman above the age of 27.”

[image via Agence France-Presse]

Agence France-Presse
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