According to Chen Haiyan, a popular dating coach on Chinese social media, this conflict results in anxiety for the parents, especially mothers, and depression for the daughters."Every time a woman calls home, her mom will cry and yell and ask why she hasn't married yet," she says, "Their grandmothers will then say that they don't want to die before seeing you get married."Stressed, scared and stigmatized, many women will give in and rush into a loveless marriage before age 30 and then rush out of it within one or two years, Wu Di says, thus driving up the divorce rate in China.
Nevertheless, as the idea that it's ok to be single past a certain age continues to gain acceptance in China, women will have options that didn't exist in the past.
Membership has grown by 10 attendees per month since April."China has a very hardworking culture, so there isn't much momentum for people to go to social events and meet people outside of their work environment," Edmunds says, "So what we have to do is bring in a different culture around initial dates and meetings that encourage people to meet based on their personalities and interests."***Both Wu and Edmunds are targeting China's "leftover women," a new term describing educated, urban women over 27 who are disadvantaged not just by society's perception they're "too old" for marriage, but also because their successful careers and economic security intimidate prospective suitors.
The government adopted the term in 2007 and promoted it in the state-run media.
These days, though, priorities have shifted."Suddenly, in the last 10 or 15 years, there's been an explosion in China of talking about love," Chen says, "Everyone wants true love, but people don't know how to get it."For Wu Di, this cultural shift presented a business opportunity.
A family and relationship counselor in Shanghai and the author of , Wu launched a three-month "dating camp" two years ago and charged 4000 RMB (about $650) per student.
A new report by the Ministry of Civil Affairs shows that the number of divorces in China jumped 8 percent last year, and, for the first time in 10 years, the increase of the divorce rate has outpaced the growth of the marriage rate.