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Matchmaking in Modern China

28 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 12 September 2013

According to a recent study by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, 24 million Chinese men will be unable to find wives by 2020 because of the country's gender imbalance. Before the mass migration from the villages to the cities, young men could rely on their parents to find them a wife. Now many of those single women live in the cities, working in factories. They only see their parents during the spring festival so the chances of finding a wife are limited. It's a particular challenge for men with low income, who don't own their own apartment or who don't have a good job. In some parts of rural China there are several communities with so many single men they've been labelled 'bachelor villages'
The trend has led to a growth in internet dating while at the high end, rich men join 'single entrepreneur' clubs that run competitions to find them that someone special.
Lucy Ash reports from China on the ways in which both parents and the single men are attempting to make the perfect catch.
Producer: Julie Ball.

  • Men at a speed dating event in the city of Dongguan

    Speed dating

    They are checking out profiles of available women. Age, height and education are listed first. The marriage market is especially tough for men these days. According to official statistics, by the end of this decade there will be 24m ‘left over men’  of marriageable age.

  • Blue Melody Manor Park on the outskirts of Beijing


    A happy bridegroom poses for the camera.  The venue is like a bridal theme park where happy couples have their photos taken amongst the fields of Lavender and those who can afford the costs have their ceremony there too.  The rising cost of getting married in China is a stumbling block for some as many women want their future husband to have a car, a house and an apartment before they will even consider them,  a far cry from the 1950’s when a watch, a bicycle and a radio was the norm.

  • Marriage Market

    A bachelor
    Zhang Junfei , who works for the Academy of Sciences, is a bachelor from Henan Province. His mother is so worried that he is not married that she has tried to find him a partner at the marriage market in Jade Lake Park in the west of Beijing.   


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