Online Dating Tweaked With Old Chinese Courtship Traditions

Posted on Jun 8, 2015 by in Chinese Culture, Concerning China

The Traditional Marriage Market

Umbrellas used for advertising at the Shanghai marriage market.

Umbrellas used for advertising at the Shanghai marriage market.

Wondering what happened to the traditional marriage market at the main gate of People’s Park after the trending online dating sites? Well, at the heart of Shanghai, the marriage market can yet be witnessed with oceans of people, elbowing each other to check the ‘singles’ offered. Yes, even today aged women visit the colorful market, scan through the personal ads, consult the match-makers and also engage in serious conversation with fellow parent who visit to find a match for their unwed grown children.

Shanghai Marriage Market

Shanghai Marriage Market

There are these marriage markets a logical consequence of traditional Chinese matchmaking practice, where families take the initiative of getting the singles in the house find an eligible match and get married.

Rise Of Digital Dating Market

However on the other end, there is another market where thousands and millions of matchmaking happen on daily basis. And the matchmaking is done by the singles themselves. This is the online dating market. The dating in digital world seems to evolve constantly, and dynamically and so it is in China since 2010. There is massive explosion in this market at its nascent stage and has expectedly crossed over two billion RMB, which is around $318 million in US value in 2014.

Changing Priorities

As priorities change, cultural practice as well go through a transformation. Recently on a popular Chinese dating show, when a male contestant invited another attractive female participant for a bicycle ride, the woman quickly responded, saying she would rather cry in a BMW than smile on the back of a bicycle with him. Well, if we keep morality aside, the practical experience, advancements have definitely and rightly changed the priorities in life.
Now, interestingly a conservative society with traditional customs and norms still prevalent not only sees a modern industry like digital dating to grow but also has the power to bring a change in the social conventions and beliefs.

Blend of the old customs and contemporary criterion by online matchmakers:

But here is a significant point that the smart digital dating market romances; these online dating sites have not change the values and criterion a Chinese single would or could seek.

What does survey show? :

Going by the statistics, while the average marriage age is rising, belief in marriage is yet very much prevalent, ubiquitous and customary amongst the Chinese. Research also says, that over 99 percent of women in 35-39 have married at least once.
The traditional demands are still a significant pedigree, which is even followed in the online dating market. From similar educational backgrounds to dialect preference, ancestral backgrounds have a major influence while finding match, even in the initial stages of dating. The efficient online dating sites dedicatedly strive in customizing searches for the registered members. However what users mostly search in a potential match is the qualification, age, height and residency.

Another survey in Chinese online dating sites shows that the modern matchmakers of this market are young, and not the middle aged, they understand the current generation much better. The young and competent Chinese youth today do not have too much time, and they are particular about certain details, which becomes a very important criteria for the online marketers. Most singles look for the monthly income status in their potential partner, quite reasonably as the cost of living, has increased.

The online dating sites are quite skilled in adopting the old Chinese courtship conventions and modernizing them online. If the traditional practice demanded a local matchmaker, the modern online dating sites employ proficient young modern matchmakers, who will be a better state to understand the trending wants and demands of singles.


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