Path:Sino-US›› Life & Culture>> Web of Love››
Ⅱ Traversing an intriguing terrain

The dating culture in China is much more conservative. Casual relationships are not encouraged, and dating is basically just a prelude to marriage, rather than for fun. That’s a big difference from the West, said American cameraman and director Nathan Mauger, who shot a documentary named “The People’s Republic of Love” to find out how people in contemporary China view love and marriage.

Editor's Note on Web of Love -- In search of a match: one man's tryst with online dating

It’s true. An increasing number of Chinese singles are turning to dating websites for help because they find themselves stuck in a home-office routine and unable to get to know new friends through their narrowing social circles.

Having missed someone that I was into and not willing to put up with someone less than ideal, I’ve entered my 30s, an age when singles face extra pressure from parents to get married.  Apparently, a great many singles are in the same boat as I am.

The computer science has ushered us into an age of algorithms. Thousands of online matchmaking services have mushroomed in recent years and gained instant popularity, because they offer us a huge pond with plenty of fish. It is bondless, cost-efficient and safe, but not necessarily off-line.

About myself: honest, down-to-earth, kind, Beijing native, editor, sports enthusiast, like traveling and watching films.

These are some key words I wrote for my profile on one of the leading Chinese dating websites, which reportedly has over 40 million registered members.

Real-name registration is not required but ID verification helps you beef up your credit rating. Alerts and warnings are noticeable during registration as the website tells male users to be wary of bar shills, women who often take you to a bar on the first date and fleece you by ordering expensive drinks. Also available are tips for women to protect themselves from play boys.

It costs 498 yuan/year to upgrade to premium membership so that you can see “who has viewed my profile” and check messages from your matches.

The Chinese edition of, an international social network serving 25 countries in more than eight languages, charges 339 yuan/half year for sending/receiving messages to/from matches.

Another English service eHarmony, which claims to be the most trusted dating site with an average of 542 singles marrying a match they found on eHarmony every day, has an annual package of $119.4 to view match photos and send/receive communication requests.

Though I haven’t paid for any of the services, I felt like getting a shot in the arm, like an NPC deputy after the two sessions. I was dazzled by the attractive profiles on the website before a lesson brought me back to reality.

To be continued…

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