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That is not to say that online dating has changed the values and criteria of Chinese singles completely.On the contrary, the primary players in this space — Jiayuan, Zhenai and Baihe — advertise themselves explicitly as marriage websites focused on helping singles find their future life partner.
China’s population responded, so much so that in the 1970s the government implemented the two-child family plan in order to guard against overpopulation.But the “goods” being hawked by the seasoned ladies behind the stalls are not scarves or souvenirs, but rather singles.Welcome to the People’s Park “marriage market,” where thousands of adults — mostly aging parents — come daily to scan the sea of personal ads, meet with matchmakers and chat up other parents eager to find a partner for their overworked, unwed children.The decade-long, relatively steady fertility rate in the 1960s of about 5.7 births per woman declined on average 6.4% per year from 1970 to 1981, according to the World Bank.
By 1981, the fertility rate fell to 2.6 births per woman.(A generation ago, a washing machine and refrigerator would have sufficed.) All these personal facts can also be found on the profiles hanging in the People’s Park marriage market. According to the United Nations, 2011 marked the first year ever that the number of people living in Chinese cities exceeded the number living in the countryside.As the Chinese government gradually relaxed its control over urban migration — by loosening the restrictions of the 1958 Hukou System, which afforded social benefits only to those who could prove identification from the local province — more and more individuals have taken advantage of new economic opportunities by migrating to cities. While a great deal of research has explored the economic, political and environmental issues that will be affected by increasing urbanization, far less has examined how this trend has impacted China from a social standpoint.This is the world of Chinese online dating, a nascent industry that has taken off and is expected to break two billion RMB (US8 million) in total annual revenue by 2014, according to a recent report by Analysys International.