Matchmaking service caters to millionaires
Updated: 2012-01-06 10:38
By Yan Yiqi (China Daily European Edition)
Golden Bachelor Matchmakers invites elegant ladies to an event organized for wealthy bachelors. [Provided to China Daily]
Every year since 1991, all eyes have been on the Crillon Ball, a prestigious event in Paris that draws high society debutants from around the world. On Jan 7, a similar event will be held in China.
Organized by Golden Bachelor Matchmakers, 20 single ladies and 20 wealthy bachelors are invited to attend a ball at the Waldorf Astoria Club in Shanghai.
The matchmaking company is recruiting guests for this event; 2,779 women and 773 men have signed up on its website to be among the elite, but only 200 will be selected.
The company recruits only millionaires or those with an interesting family background and, unlike other high-end clubs that keep a low profile, it is very public about its intentions.
In November, Golden Bachelor Matchmakers organized a dating party in Shenzhen for the rich. The 48-hour, closed-door party was only open to single men who paid an entrance fee of 25,600 yuan ($4,067, 3,048 euros). Qualified participants could invite one to three women from the company's database as guests. A total of 3,028 men signed up for the event, but only 30 were "lucky" enough to take part.
Media coverage was never-ending.
"In the club hall or under the moonlight, elegant gentlemen and stunning ladies opened their hearts to communicate under the harmonious environment. Let us wait to see the sparkles between them," a Shanghai website reported about the event.
"These kinds of parties are most probably marketing strategies by the companies to seek publicity," says Wang Yan, executive committee member of the Committee of Matchmaking Service Industries.
Yu Hai, a sociology professor at Fudan University, says he is not in favor of these types of events designed for high-status groups either.
"Dating events should help ordinary young single people find happiness in a healthy way, instead of providing a stage to show off wealth or marry a millionaire," he says.
Faced with doubts and critics from the society, Xu Tianli, founder of Golden Bachelor Matchmakers, says his company has always advertised itself as a matchmaking service provider to high-end consumers.
"We are fully aware that ordinary people cannot understand the services we are providing, but currently, we are only serving clients who can afford our services," he says.
Xu's company offers memberships starting at 100,000 yuan. Golden Bachelor Matchmakers does offer free, online memberships, but candidates need to apply first.
"We have more than 6 million members, and 80 to 90 percent of them are men. I cannot reveal the exact number of paid members, but I should say they are not the minority. The fact is, there are more and more people willing to pay one-year's salary to find a life-long other half," Xu says.
To become a member, men are required to have a personal or family wealth of more than 5 million yuan, but women are accepted based on an excellent family background, a good job or even their appearances.
"I always say that marriage is the biggest investment in one's life, and for the people with wealth of more than 100 million yuan, paying six-digit fees is just like common people paying several hundred yuan," Xu says of the company's high price.
"And together with the high fee, we have services that are worth the money. I dare say that there is no other matchmaking service company like us that hires PhDs in psychology as consultants. We also have 'love hunters' and 'marriage hunters' specifically searching for the right one for our clients," he says.
Golden Bachelor Matchmakers employees spend most of their time searching for qualified women for its VIP members. The process, as someone described, is like an ancient Chinese emperor selecting his concubines.
"It is an insult to modern women because these men are using so many social resources and hundreds of women only to pick a wife. And the reason they can do so is just because they have lots of money," says Xu Xiaoyao, a sociology professor at Nanjing University.