Shanghai dating girls
Now 40, Chow has been actively looking for his legendary lady for a full decade.
The Shanghai native has registered on around 20 online dating platforms, but he says that as he gets older, he more often prefers offline events.
For more than four years, he has used the services of Jiaoda Matchmaker, a platform he favors for its elite clientele and detailed listings.
For instance, Chow can choose to register for an event if he sees that a physician is among the women who have signed up.
Chow knows exactly what he wants in a partner: “a modern Mulan.” He’s seeking a woman who is as optimistic, wise, brave, and kind-hearted as the fabled warrior.
She also must be a doctor, at least 1.68 meters tall, and have a master’s degree or higher, so an event like this could be the perfect place to find her.
For Chow, platforms like Jiaoda are preferable to the city’s famed “marriage market” in People’s Park, where many anxious parents shop around for spouses for their adult children. “Even if the parents agree to a price, they ignore whether their children’s personalities and social circles are compatible.”Yet like the personals ads pinned to umbrellas at People’s Park, a quick survey of Jiaoda’s events and promotions reveals the hierarchy of desirability — as well as how the dimensions of age, sex, location, and class affect dating in China today.“There are many more highly educated single women than men in a metropolis like Shanghai,” Jiaoda founder Wu tells Sixth Tone.
The idea for the matchmaking platform emerged in 2013, when Wu and her friends organized some campus speed dating events for single doctoral students.Cai says he doesn’t care about a woman’s age, height, or her family’s finances, but education is key as it helps establish a “common language.”“Only a capable girl would choose to pursue a doctorate,” Cai tells Sixth Tone.“I appreciate these cool, courageous girls.”According to the name lists left by participants at five Jiaoda events in July, excluding their age-specific events, the average age of 456 participants was 32 for men and 29 for women.The overwhelming response convinced her that there was a sizeable untapped market for prestige matchmaking services aimed at highly educated singles looking to meet their match. Without commercial advertising, Jiaoda has quickly spread by word of mouth through its target market, attracting 14,400 event registrations each year.
According to the company, which now employs eight full-time staff and several part-time event hosts, more than 600 couples who met through its services have since married. To me, it’s like a trading floor for marriage [where] the subjects themselves are absent,” he tells Sixth Tone.But for events that they anticipate will be more popular with men — those for women under 28, for example — the price is 99 yuan for all participants.