It would seem everything has a price tag in China -- a full-time mistress will cost you a house and a monthly allowance, while a baby can be bought for the price of an iPhone. How about the mother of your children? The amount could reach 200,000 yuan ($32,826) just for the chance to meet her, for some Chinese millionaires.
With China’s prevalent mistress culture, one would assume the sanctity of marriage is dead in the country. But for 10 wealthy Chinese men who attended a weekend-long matchmaking event in the southern province Hainan that was hosted by Diamond Love, marriage was the only goal on their minds, the Telegraph reported on Tuesday.
After decades of planned births, China now has a highly skewed male-to-female ratio, which means finding a wife is no easy feat. But for the superrich, meeting a future wife is not a process that can be left to fate. In the past five years, as the Chinese have become wealthier than ever, companies offering high-end dating services have proliferated to cater to the demand.
The fee can range from 20,000 yuan for one-time events such as those organized by Diamond Love, which is among the country’s most exclusive matchmaking companies. A VIP membership to the company’s general matchmaking services runs 100,000 yuan, while membership to the Chinese Entrepreneurs’ Club for Singles costs well over 200,000 yuan a year, plus about 400,000 yuan for each city in which a search is conducted.
But at least the professionals at Diamond Love are dedicated to making sure the men’s money will be well-spent. Thousands of the firm's “love-hunters” conduct six-month nationwide searches, approaching some 30,000 women on the streets, then narrow the list down to 50 of the most suitable candidates. Prior to the event, the finalists’ profiles, which detail their age, family background, education, height, weight and personal interests, are sent to the millionaires who will be attending, because unlike a mistress, a wife has to be more than a pretty face.
“Superficially, you think these men are just looking for very beautiful women,” explained Ren Xuemei, Diamond Love’s chief marriage counselor, according to the Telegraph. “But in fact it is more than that. Our members have social responsibilities; they are from big wealthy families or are in charge of big companies.”
The women in attendance still have to be beautiful, of course, but they are also well-educated and multitalented. Over the weekend, between mixers and icebreakers, they demonstrated their proficiency at sand painting, Chinese dance and calligraphy in the hopes of impressing the male attendees. The men didn’t have to perform, because their wealth is talent enough, it seems.
At the end of the weekend, each man gave out a rose like their counterparts on the American reality show the Bachelor do, the Telegraph reported.
“My job this weekend is to select a wife,” a 42-year-old property magnate said, citing parental pressure, while giving out his rose. “I cannot wait forever.”
But he will have to wait. The matchmaking event was just the first, exorbitantly expensive step. After the man gives out the rose and is accepted, the couple will still have to get to know each other, meet the parents and everything else -- marraige is after all a highly monetized, formal affair in China, and the couple has a long road ahead of them before their happy-ever-after.