Men wanted for 36 Chinese millionaire single ladies
A CHINESE cupid has launched a nationwide manhunt on behalf of 36 female millionaires who have made fortunes from their country’s breathtaking economic boom but have failed to find love.
Johnny Du, the CEO of online dating start-up 51Taonan.com (IWantAMan.com), kicked-off his quest last month and aims to find suitable husbands for some of the most eligible women in modern China.
The women include real estate magnates and manufacturing tycoons from Sichuan province who have been unable to find Mr Right despite, or perhaps because of, their ballooning bank-balances.
“I believe this is the first time [there has been such a scheme] only tailored for wealthy women,” Mr Du told The Daily Telegraph this week during a visit to Shanghai, one of the cities he is tapping for potential husbands.
Dating is big business in China, a country that is reputedly home to some 180 million single people. Early this year the founder of one of China’s biggest online dating sites – Baihe.com – told local television his company was making annual profits of around £20 million from its 36 million registered users.
But in a country notorious for a dramatic gender-imbalance that has condemned millions of men to single-life, most matchmaking agencies focus on fixing the love lives of Chinese men.
Even the government sees helping men find love as a priority. Last month the People’s Daily newspaper warned that “social harmony and stability” could be threatened if millions of rural men were unable to find partners.
But China’s super-rich women are facing problems of their own, said Mr Du, not least finding time to scout for would-be husbands.
“They are very busy, of course, so they don’t have much time to meet the ideal date. They are always surrounded by business people or customers so they don’t have much of a chance to meet good guys outside their [immediate] circles.”
Wealthy women also faced prejudice from men of their own social class, he claimed.
“Wealthy men don’t necessarily want a wife as successful as them. They want a good wife and a good mother but they don’t necessarily want a successful women because [they think she] will spend lots of time on business [but] not on the family.
“At the same time wealthy women have a high standard in choosing their husbands. Because they are very successful they also expect their husband to be at least as successful as they are.”
Rebecca Chen, who at 29 is one of the youngest Chengdu-based millionaires to sign up for the project, said social norms also hampered a rich woman’s search for the perfect man.
“Men have a much higher success rate [in finding love] and a much broader selection, since they can choose someone from a lower social group,” said Chen, whose family controls a Chengdu property and hotel empire.
“For women, it is almost impossible to choose downwards — their family and friends would not approve and they would face many difficulties.” Mr Du’s hunt for eligible bachelors, a collaboration with Hong Kong-based dating agency Feng Qiu Huang, began on June 18 when he began taking online applications from across China and the world.
So far around 1,500 men have signed up, including one Australian and several applicants from the US and Canada. UK-based graduates of “famous [British] universities” had also applied, he said.
Phase two of the search will begin on July 20 when organisers start sifting through CVs and vetting the would-be husbands in a series of face-to-face meetings with relationship specialists and fortune-tellers in hotels around China.
A shortlist of 100 men will be invited on an all-expenses-paid trip to Chengdu on August 23, China’s Valentines’ Day, for dinner dates with the 36 women, all aged between 28 and 49.
Competition for a place at the table will be fierce. Applicants must have a “minimum standard” of education and be the same age or older than the love-starved millionaires. “They are not looking for toyboys,” said Mr Du, who is 45 and holds a Master’s degree in Engineering from the University of Minnesota but said he was happily married with two children.
“They are looking for guys who are very mature, understanding and very supportive, with a sense of humour and good taste [and] who know how to enjoy life and are honest.” A taste for Mahjong — a traditional Chinese gambling game — was also desirable, he added.
“Mahjong is a very popular form of entertainment in Sichuan and Chengdu. It is part of daily life.” Ms Chen, who was born in Urumqi, in far-western China, said her ideal man needed to be “sociable, generous, vigorous, and conversational.” He also needed money.
“He should have some economic strength, at least 10 million yuan in assets, since all my friends have that much money or more and the personal wealth is a reflection of integrated capability. He needs to have good morals and healthy lifestyle.”
Applicants should also be prepared to relocate to Chengdu, a rapidly growing city around 1,240 miles west of Shanghai, famed for its pandas, fiery cuisine and aviation and car manufacturing industries.
For men seeking a millionaire to call their own, Chengdu, home to nearly 15 million people, is not a bad place to start.
The region has experienced breakneck economic growth since Beijing began its “Go West” drive to develop China’s interior in 2000.
Last year Chengdu’s economy grew 15.2 per cent while the city’s New Century Global Centre, a commercial and leisure complex that will reputedly be the world’s largest stand-alone building, is set to open later this year. The Mediterranean-themed complex will reportedly boast two luxury 1,000-room hotels, hot springs, a marine park and its own artificial beach.
According a 2011 rich-list compiled by the Shanghai-based luxury publisher Hurun, 29 of China’s richest 1,000 individuals are based in Sichuan province while 20 live in its capital Chengdu. Sichuan province has the 8th highest number of people among China’s richest 1000.
“After the economic reform in China many people [in Sichuan] became very rich, both men and women,” Mr Du pointed out. “And also Sichuan girls are famous for being pretty and also smart, hardworking and intelligent.”