Shanghai Matchmaking Party Welcomes Foreigners

It is no secret that foreign men, including Scandinavians, have been looking to find perfect wives in Asia. In this Springtime, however, Shanghai’s matchmaking operators are inviting foreigners to the year’s largest matchmaking party.

It’s Springtime Romance in Shanghai! This year’s largest matchmaking party will be held in Expo Park from May 26-27, with up to 30,000 singles expected to sign up. Foreigners don’t need to apply as many matchmaking operators are eager to milk the lovelorn market of women from developing countries and men from wealthier nations. One success story is a marriage of a Chinese lady and a Norwegian man just two months after dating.

Though marriages between Chinese and foreigner were once considered strictly taboo, they have become more common nowadays in China. The number of international matchmaking services has continuously increasing, even though it’s technically against the rules in China.

“The market should be opened up because marriage has no boundaries of nationality and age. Many countries, such as Singapore, don’t make a distinction between domestic and international matchmaking,” said Wang Weiming, secretary-general of the Shanghai Matchmaking Organization Administration Association.

He said shutting down the market in international matchmaking would only lead to underground operations and even more possible problems.

The State Council issued a notice in 1994, prohibiting cross-cultural matchmaking in China, but there is no specific law targeting the practice.

“The notice has not been abolished, and no new one has yet been promulgated. Therefore, no one dares to approve these businesses,” said Lin Kewu, deputy director of the marriage administration office of the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau.

In Shanghai, businesses involved in cross-border or cross-cultural matchmaking services have not been shut down. They face fines of up to 30,000 yuan (US$4,838) if prosecuted, but that rarely happened.
“It is a sensitive and complicated issue,” Lin admitted.

In Shanghai, a large number of agencies are trying to cash in on the business. Some claim they are only involved in helping people find ‘friends’ as a cover for their activities. Some don’t bother to disguise their efforts at all.

For customers, there are many risks involved. Some foreign ‘candidates’ seem to vanish after lovelorn women have paid fees of up to 30,000 yuan to meet them. In other cases, Mr. Rights turn out not to be singles as they were simply hired by an agency to date women.

A staff worker called Zhu from a Matchmaking operator Jing Guo Yuan on Zujiahui road told Shanghai Daily that the company has potential ‘candidates’ in age groups from many countries such as Canada, Switzerland and the United States.

After people apply and pay a consultation fee of about 2,000 yuan, Zhu said she would send photos of foreigners to applicants. If they find someone they like, the overseas candidates will be asked to arrange a visit to Shanghai. More fees will be charged then.

Zhu boasted how one local Chinese girl married a Norwegian man after two months of dating. However, neither Zhu nor other operators were prepared to discuss overall success rates.

At the end of the interview, Zhu said that she has a scientist overseas who is keen to find a Chinese wife.  “Don’t be shy! Come for a look,” she said.

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