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April 19, 2013

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Matchmaking party set to limit number of parents

ORGANIZERS of the city's largest matchmaking party said they will limit the number of parents - with or without their children - to 4,000, and will charge each parent or person accompanying participants 50 yuan (US$8.06).

The party, called the 10,000-Person Matchmaking Event, is in its third year but two event will be held this year instead of just one because organizers were bombarded with calls from parents anxious about their children's marriage prospects.

"Telephones kept ringing from overbearing parents who asked when we will host the event this year and how to apply," said Zhou Juemin, director of the city's matchmaking association.

Zhou said one mother kept calling, complaining that her daughter had grown a year older since missing last year's event.

Organizers are discouraging parents from attending, saying they should respect children's freedom, and too many parents will change the atmosphere and affect unwed children's decisions.

"We don't want to copy the matchmaking corner in People's Square," Zhou said, referring to the gathering of parents who advertise their children's attributes on pieces of paper.

Some 40,000 people showed up at last year's events, including parents who lined up outside and needled men for information on their income, jobs and property.

While there are more eligible men than women in the city, organizers said more women than men try to get into the event. They said they may limit the number of women allowed to ensure a better balance of the sexes.

Women in their late 20s and men in their mid-30s are sometimes considered "left over'' people in China and not desirable for marriage. "Left-over men and women have become a social problem, and this wave of singles, which is the fourth in China and started in 2006, is forecast to last 10 to 15 years," Zhou said.

About 20 enterprises such as Baosteel and Shentong group, the Metro operator, will organize their singles, mainly males, to participate and help fill the gap in terms of the number of male and female.

In previous events, men working in Baosteel and in the information technology and finance fields were favored by women. A woman queued for three hours for registration to meet a man working in Baosteel, Zhou said. She estimated a 12 to 13 percent success rate of singles who date after matchmaking events.

Jessica Zhao, a 29-year-old single post-office worker, said she may apply for the event. "Just to have a try, although the chance to meet my Mr Right is slim," she said. She said she was pushed a lot by her mother, who worried about her single status.

Although women outnumber men by a large number in matchmaking events, there are actually more local single men than women, aged from 27 to 45. But the gap in income and education often hampers a good match, officials said.

The ratio of Shanghainese single men to single women is about 10 to 8, said Zhou.


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