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In addition to these laws, China’s Open Door Policy of 1978, which began to expose Chinese to outside cultural influences, further destabilized traditional customs.
More young Chinese took the initiative, many driven by romantic love, to seek potential spouses in their circles through school, work, social gatherings or mutual friends.
Jiayuan and Baihe, China’s most popular dating sites, had around 126 million and 85 million registered users in 2015 respectively (Tinder had about 50 million active users in 2014).
In contrast to a slew of popular dating apps in the West that are commonly associated with a casual “hook-up” dating culture, Chinese online dating services are typically used by those in search of lasting connections and relationships — although this gradually may be changing.
“We’re looking for people who are more relationship-driven,” says Liu.
“We are matching for long-term relationships.” While dating apps and sites have made it easier for users to find a large number of highly-targeted matches and thus widening the dating pool for Chinese singles, negative effects have also arisen.
On dating apps, Zhou says, “We have the autonomy to decide if we feel good about and would like to meet this potential date in real life.” When Jiayuan’s founder Gong Haiyan was a Masters student at Shanghai’s ultra-competitive Fudan University, she came up with the idea for the website in the hopes of helping her busy college friends find love.
Privy M8 (M8), a new American matchmaking platform currently targeting young Asian-American professionals, was inspired by the experiences of the founder and CEO Stephen Christopher Liu, who met his wife through mutual friends.
The 1980 Second Marriage Law further enhanced marriage freedom and gender equality in China by protecting women’s interests in domestic violence and divorce.She found that it was not only easy to use and fit the pace of her busy professional life, but it also expanded her dating pool beyond local men in her city to access potential partners of better quality from other regions.“I cannot deny that there are good guys in my local city,” said Zhou on traditional dating, “but I didn’t find any quality matches after getting to know them.” An increasing number of Chinese have turned to online dating and dating apps.Sick of unsuccessful blind dates set up by her parents and unable to stand the social scrutiny of meeting potential dates at bars in her city, Zhou registered on Jiayuan, a Chinese dating website.The site is typically used by young singles between 24 and 35 and is commonly viewed as a tool for seeking long-term relationships and possibly marriage.
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Despite these changes, Chinese parents still have great influence in their children’s romantic lives.