I covered Google's last straw reaction to China's internet censorship a couple of weeks back and can't help but wonder how the Chinese government will ultimately respond to China's super-rich look for love online reported yesterday by CNN Digital Biz. CNN interviewed Xu Tianli, founder of Golden Bachelor, the ultimate spouse procurement website -- "an online dating site catering to an expanding class of super-wealthy Chinese singletons who have it all except for one thing: a bride." And if you think dating is expensive in Western cultures, "The Golden Bachelor 'Diamond Love' membership goes for 300,000 Yuan ($44,000)."
Xu's business model is interesting in that it's a response to scarcity on two levels: A demographic "where 24 million Chinese men will find themselves lacking wives by 2020 because of the country's gender imbalance" and an apparent shortage of women who can measure up to the Golden Bachelor's requirement for beauty and higher than average family income. To fill the order -- so to speak -- staffers "travel around the country in search of China's most beautiful bachelorettes to bring to the lavish matchmaking parties the company throws. The last one was on December 20 in Beijing in a luxury hotel. The ticket price was 100,000 yuan, ($14,600); 21 single women and 22 single men attended. Ladies took part in a wedding gown show and also sang, danced, even cooked for their moneyed suitors during a talent program. Eighty percent of those who came found a date, according to the company."
These matchmaking parties seem reminiscent of Western society's "coming out" events that still take place at exclusive private country clubs in the U.S. for the teenage adolescent children of wealthy members. Similar to private clubs in the U.S., Golden Bachelors must have "a personal or family wealth of at least 2 million yuan ($292,000); a background that is extremely superior, wealthy and aristocratic; very good personal qualities or [in the case of women, be] young, talented and beautiful" according to the CNN article.
I suspect that the non-traditional social nature of Chinese on-line dating will be overlooked by government authorities -- especially those with un-married daughters. And since "China's Internet dating market was already estimated to be worth $43.9 million in 2008 and is expected to nearly double to $83.4 million this year" -- as quoted from China-based technology research firm iResearch by CNN -- there will also be plenty of excess revenue to appease those authorities who want their sons to join Golden Bachelor's as well. I suppose when it comes to highbrow dating sino-style, spend really does not matter ...