Match-making was once no more than a social phenomenon; now it is also an emerging market with great potential.
New professions are constantly being created: love consultant, marriage headhunter, soul mate match-maker, etc—those real-life "Cupids" help single men and women meet each other and fulfill their most fundamental inclinations as human beings.
The television dating show put the blind dating economy under the spotlight. As well as being a great source of revenues for production companies, TV stations and advertisers, as a path to love and marriage the dating show also satisfies the audience’s curiosity and the participants' practical needs.
As distinct from the blind dating show which provides a service to a small group of people, the dating website can benefit a much wider range of singles. China's biggest dating website Jiayuan.com has over 90 million registered members, while Baihe.com has over 60 million members and Zhenai.com has over 58 million members—almost all the single people in China are covered by these three biggest dating websites. According to statistics released by China E-Business Research Center, currently China has over 50 dating websites and the market size will reach 2 billion yuan (equal to 165 million USD) in 2014.
Although more and more dating websites are being established and looking to take a share of the match-making service market, they all experience a range of difficulties in their development.
According to the analysis of insiders, one common problem is that the lifecycle of users is much shorter than that of the general social contact products. A dating website service is almost a one-off, since people will no longer log on once they find the right person. The upside potential of those websites is to develop services for the period from "going stable to getting married"; and more importantly, they need to find new customers.
As well as the development bottlenecks experienced by dating websites, the problems of single men and women themselves also cause ripples in the "match-making" process.
Li Zimo, 29, has been registered on a dating website for over a year. During this time she has made contact with eight men, but is getting nowhere. "I refused some of them, and the others refused me. With so many choices on the dating website, people are becoming more and more picky. Many others are in my situation – even after a year on one of those websites they still have not found the right person."
People have all kinds of explanations for why they have failed to find the right person. The dating websites create more opportunities for single people to meet each other, but they can't provide a short-cut to love and marriage. On Valentine's Day of 2014, Li Zimo was still alone.
The article is edited and translated from《相亲背后的美好“钱”景》, source: China Youth Daily, author: Yang Jie.