Marriage and money in Wuhan

Posted by Joel Martinsen, October 16, 2009 5:15 PM
Wuhan Morning Post
October 16, 2009

Today's Wuhan Morning Post (slogan: News fulfills life) covers several stages of marriage on its front page.

The paper leads with a headline about a campaign to crack down on dodgy matchmaking services:

According to consumer association statistics, through September of this year there had been 178 complaints about matchmaking services, double last year's rate. Major complaints: Matchmaking companies used fake suitors to defraud clients, provided false information, or failed to perform the services they had been paid for.
According to a survey on fake suitors conducted in August by the metropolitan bureau of industry and commerce, one-quarter of clients of matchmaking services had encountered fakes.

The services are simply responding to market demand, said one manager:

Age range and male-female ratios are highly incompatible, so to deal with clients, they were forced to recruit "fake suitors" to substitute. "Say there are twenty 25-year-old women. All of them want a rich man around 35 years old, but you can only find one man, at most, who fits that description, so to deal with the other nineteen, you've got to find three ringers to take turns meeting the rest of the women."

According to the article, a national standard for matchmaking services, and an accompanying license system, will be rolled out by year-end.

Once you've found that special someone, you've got to pay for the wedding. "What if you don't have the money to get married? A loan from a financial company" reads a headline in the sidebar. Unsecured personal loans are available on a trial basis to allow Wuhan residents to purchase durable goods and finance general consumption such as weddings, travel, renovations, and education.