When women in China approach their mid-twenties, many become conscious of family and societal pressures to get married and avoid being tarred as one of the nation’s “leftover women,” that is, females who are single at the age of 27. This year, in fact, some 30,000 Chinese women gathered in Shanghai’s "Love and Marriage Expo," hoping to get tips on how to get hitched.
One woman, 41-year-old Liang Yali, has made a business out of giving advice and "training" to women who need help getting down the aisle. Liang is the founder of the Seek-a-Husband Training Program, a series of classes that aim to help Chinese women find not only boyfriends, but also husbands. One of her programs boasts that in 90 days, she'll teach Chinese women how to find and marry an "elite" foreigner. The least expensive option is the one-day crash course, which costs 2,800 yuan, or $456.
Liang says she knows the dating scene well; after all, she’s married to one of these "elite" foreigners. According to an interview with the Modern Express newspaper, Liang said after a courtship that lasted less than two months, she found her “honest, considerate” American husband, who works as a general manager at a multinational company. The two are reportedly living happily ever after.
“To marry a rich husband, women must groom themselves up first to get that added value … just like renovating a rough apartment into a lavishly decorated house,” Liang said of the transformational advice she dispenses in an interview with Eastday News. Liang also advises that women older than 35 should look to settle with a foreign man. “Many women above 35 find it difficult to find Chinese men. I tell them, ‘look for expats’ Foreigners think a 35-year-old woman [sic] are charming and in the prime of their life,” she explained.
According to Liang, her special course targeted at women looking for expats in the country launched in Shanghai and has a success rate of 60 percent. While she does have some satisfied customers, her classes have also faced criticism, especially when it was reported that one of her youngest customers was only 17 years old. (Reportedly, in some cases, parents of teenagers signed their children up to the class as a way to get to marry very young).
An article in the South China Morning Post said many are calling the program a way to teach women to “throw money at love” and say that it encourages seeking out “sugar daddies” for young girls. Still, Liang insists that she isn't in the business of making girls rich. “If your purpose is to find a rich man, please do not sign up. We are in the business of happiness.”