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February 12, 2010

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'Love supermarket' has partnership as key goal

FOR Chinese singles in the market for love on Valentine's Day this Sunday, a Beijing supermarket may have on offer just what they're seeking.

The "I'm Looking For You" market opened in November 2009, for China's unofficial "Singles Day," celebrated on the 11th of that month.

Since then, the supermarket has attracted more than 1,000 clients and successfully matched 50-plus couples.

The supermarket - essentially a dating service that offers a venue where singles can meet - charges a 20 yuan (US$3) registration fee.

Members list their names, ages, income and occupation, along with a picture, and this profile is available for others to view. They are asked what they would like in a partner.

Gao Shan, the supermarket's manager, said the concept was inspired by people's need to meet in a safe, friendly and relaxing environment, and by the negative experiences some singles have had using Internet dating services.

"The love supermarket was not created to satisfy a holiday need," she said. "It was created so that singles can have the opportunity to leave behind their single life."

Many single Chinese complain that hectic work and school schedules in the highly competitive society leave them with little time to socialize, Gao said.

Qu Hui, a 25-year-old teacher, said the supermarket had given her hope to find Mr Right and some friends.

"I wish I could find my better half, that is my greatest hope. But if that doesn't happen, I hope I can use this place to meet more friends," she said.

"I am a teacher, so the people that I can meet and socialize with are very limited."


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