What’s a rich, young, Shanghainese bachelor to do? You’ve got a bustling business to run, cars to buy, xiaojies to entertain, a face to maintain, a fully-booked KTV schedule, bribes to pay, and a carton of Chung Hwa to smoke. And now, you’re sitting alone, smugly self-satisfied in your splendid, newly-decorated Lujiazui high-rise penthouse, and yet somehow, something seems to be missing. Well, if you’re like the passengers on Saturday’s Huangpu cruise aboard the good ship, “Captain One,” that something is romance.
Organized by the matchmaking website 915915.com.cn, the cruise was limited to men with a net worth of at least 2 million RMB (US$250,000), while the female participants were required to be college educated, attractive, and undergo a rigorous screening process. Of the cruise’s 408 qualifying applicants, 119 men and 289 women were selected to participate in the event for which tickets cost up to 28,000 yuan (US$3,180). For the bean-counters out there, that’s about 2.5 women per man.
According to Antara News “participants were treated to a talent show by the gathered guests and could retire to private quarters on the boat for more intimate conversation.” As if to confirm any suspicions aroused by the sliding prices, private quarters, and the “favorable” gender ratio, The Scotsman quotes 915915.com.cn CEO, Xu Tianli: “We’re the country with the world’s biggest population, so marriage is a serious concern, especially for wealthy men who don’t have time to meet anyone.” Clearly, we know who’s paying, but for what? With heavy rain on Saturday, it is unclear how many of the expected 50 participants ultimately attended the event.
According to The Scotsman:
Organisers refused to permit photographs or even interviews with participants, although one man who signed up said he considered the idea behind the cruise “extremely natural”.
“This really is the most natural way to meet someone, because everyone is here for the same reason. Out in the world, you can’t just walk up to someone and ask if they’re single,” said the man, a manager in his late 30s, who declined to give his name.
With young Chinese – rich or not – spending more time on work and education and less on romance, demand is soaring for dating services and other non-traditional matchmaking techniques.
Xu said his site’s revenues rose 35% this year, although he gave no figures. He said his members are 35% men, 65% women. The site allows members to post photographs and brief introductions, and also counsels singles on how to find a match.