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The overwhelming response convinced her that there was a sizeable untapped market for prestige matchmaking services aimed at highly educated singles looking to meet their match. Without commercial advertising, Jiaoda has quickly spread by word of mouth through its target market, attracting 14,400 event registrations each year.According to the company, which now employs eight full-time staff and several part-time event hosts, more than 600 couples who met through its services have since married. To me, it’s like a trading floor for marriage [where] the subjects themselves are absent,” he tells Sixth Tone.For more than four years, he has used the services of Jiaoda Matchmaker, a platform he favors for its elite clientele and detailed listings.For instance, Chow can choose to register for an event if he sees that a physician is among the women who have signed up.
As the 29-year-old meets few women his age in his male-dominated field, he hopes off-campus speed dating will help him find a partner with a similar level of education.
Wu says that often when Jiaoda posts notices of upcoming events on a Monday morning, the spots for women will sell out within hours, whereas places for men will not fill up until the day of an event itself, which is usually on a Saturday or Sunday.
To attract more men, the platform posts profiles of the female participants who have already registered, including each woman’s age, hometown, occupation, education history, and hobbies — as well as its contentious event-pricing policy.
For Chow, platforms like Jiaoda are preferable to the city’s famed “marriage market” in People’s Park, where many anxious parents shop around for spouses for their adult children. “Even if the parents agree to a price, they ignore whether their children’s personalities and social circles are compatible.”Yet like the personals ads pinned to umbrellas at People’s Park, a quick survey of Jiaoda’s events and promotions reveals the hierarchy of desirability — as well as how the dimensions of age, sex, location, and class affect dating in China today.“There are many more highly educated single women than men in a metropolis like Shanghai,” Jiaoda founder Wu tells Sixth Tone.
While China overall has more single men than women, women make up the majority of graduates from postgraduate programs, according to the latest statistics from the Ministry of Education.