Singles in Shanghai are more willing to date or marry foreigners compared to their counterparts in other parts of the country, suggests a new survey by a popular online matchmaking agency released Monday, ahead of Valentine's Day today.
Some 73 percent of Shanghai singles are open to starting relationships with people from overseas, compared to 67 percent of singles nationwide, said the report compiled by jiayuan.com using data from more than 75,000 site members nationwide over the past two months.
Female singles are still by far more likely to get involved with foreigners, with about half of them open to dating overseas men, while the figure drops to roughly 20 percent for single males expressing an interest in foreign women.
It was the first time for the Shanghai-based matchmaking agency to explore the mind-sets of singles' attitudes toward cross-cultural relationships, with those in the Big Apple of China being noticeably more receptive to moving outside their comfort zone when it comes to dating, said Liu Jing, a press officer for jiayuan.com.
"Singles in Shanghai are quite open-minded when it comes to dating people from different cultures, with people in the city scoring some 5 percentage points higher than people from outside provinces when it comes to having a non-Chinese partner," she told the Global Times Monday.
A majority 43 percent of single women in the city want to start a family with a foreign spouse because they think "mixed babies turn out cuter and smarter," while another 42 percent of them said that they prefer to marry someone from overseas because they believe it will give their children access to a better education and social welfare system. Others said that considering foreigners allowed them to expand their dating options.
According to Ming Li, vice director of China Social Work Association's working committee on marriage and family, an organization dedicated to research and providing social support to families, the motives for engaging with foreigners today, particularly for independent women, have changed greatly in recent years.
"Even a decade ago, women still thought of cross-cultural marriage as a springboard to a better life and opportunity to settle down in a foreign country," she told the Global Times Monday.
But, with the improved economic conditions in China these days, most women in the city, especially those who are more than capable of looking after themselves financially, are choosing to pursue happiness instead, she said.
"Women tend to seek a balanced relationship nowadays, one rich in love and family life - they have no problems accepting a foreign man if he, too, can offer those things," she added.
Adjusting to foreign habits, communication methods and mentalities, nonetheless, remain major obstacles for cross-cultural couples in finding happiness, said Ming.
But, the high standards held by Shanghai singles, too, continue to challenge relationships in general, the report found. It said that 48 percent of unattached people in the city refuse to lower their standards, even as they age.
Nearly 80 percent of singles in Shanghai said that while they would accept a partner who did not own a house or car, they expected their better half to have those things within the next five years.
(By Lu Chen)