Shanghai’s marriage market

No luck finding a partner yourself? Why not send out your parents instead to find Mr/Miss Perfect, while you are busy in a successful career.

Weird though it may sound, in Shanghai this happens every Saturday & Sunday in the city’s People’s Park. When walking around yesterday after the MOCA-visit I walked into a huge mass of older people with many people sitting along the sides with what looked like advertisements on umbrella’s and stands. I couldn’t quite make out where I had ended up. The (often hand-written) advertisements were describing people: age, gender, height etc: were they selling people?

The mystery was answered this morning when watching a video explaining the most important things about Shanghai: economy, landmarks, food – and the marriage market. Aha! So this is what I had walked into.

Because of the one-child policy in China the ‘wedding market’ is quite out of balance with China’s population including many more men than women. And with a strong focus for the current generation on work, career and financial stability there is apparently not a lot of time left over for dating and finding a partner, especially when there are less women around than you’d like. And this is where the marriage market seems to come in: this CNN article explains (and shows) it well.

Apparently Shanghai men are also considered very eligible in China: romantic and family-oriented are some reputed qualities of a typical Shanghai man.

Still, it’s hard to believe that an outdoor matchmaking fair like this can lead to successful and stable marriages… (although I’m sure the idea of a successful marriage is probably different in China than in the Netherlands).

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