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April 23, 2014

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Dating expo will play Eros for returnees

OVERSEAS returnees in search of a soulmate will be given their very own “love zone” at the fifth Shanghai Matchmaking Expo.

“People coming home after living abroad often find it difficult to find a partner because they tend to have higher expectations,” said Zhou Juemin, director of the Shanghai Matchmaking Association, which organizes the event.

“Many of them are looking for people with similar experiences,” he said.

Also, the majority of returnees are older than what many people consider a “desirable” age for marriage, Zhou said.

“Most of the women coming back are over 28 and are looking for men of about 35 who are well off. But most men of that age are either already married or looking for someone younger,” he said.

This year’s matchmaking event, which is the largest of its kind in the city, will take place on May 24-25 in Zhaoxiang Town, Qingpu District. The organizers said they deliberately chose a weekend close to May 20, as the date sounds a little like “I love you” in Chinese.

As well as the zone for overseas returnees, another dedicated area will be for parents of unmarried offspring.

The idea was born out of the success of the “blind date corner” events held by the association every month in Xujiahui, which have attracted more than 2,000 parents, 80 percent of them moms, Zhou said.

Lots of parents worry about their children not being able to find a spouse, even if they are only in their late teens or early 20s, he said.

According to Sun Mei’e, deputy director of the Shanghai Women’s Federation, women who are only in their late 20s and men in just their mid-30s are generally regarded in China as having been left on the shelf.

As a result, parents with sons and daughters approaching those ages get increasingly anxious and will do almost anything to help them find a partner.

The expo is free to enter for single people under 40, while parents will be charged 50 yuan (US$8).

Applications can be made from Friday through May 15 either online at or at any of 48 matchmaking agencies in the city.

In the past, the events have attracted more women than men, so this year the organizers have invited a large number of single men from the city’s major state-owned companies.


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