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After years working as a senior investment banker in the US and Hong Kong, he fulfilled his dream of setting up his own business.
The more affordable “self-service” dating site is popular with those in their 20s, but he says there is a very definite trend that when women reach the age of 27 they opt for the more pricey matchmaking service.
That’s according to Dr Song Li, founder of Zhenai.com, one of China’s biggest matchmaking sites – who apologises if his findings may not seem “politically correct”. Professors at the University of Hong Kong or a university in the UK or US might be interested in using our data to study the psychology of love,” says Li, who has the infectious enthusiasm and quirky personality commonly seen among bona fide serial entrepreneurs.
“I’d love it if our data could contribute to society.” He’s not kidding about the volume of data.
When it comes to dating, Chinese men are most interested in what women look like, while women want to know about a man’s income.
The next consideration is a prospective partner’s profession: primary-school teachers and nurses are in high demand among men, while women favour men in IT or finance – areas men least want their partner to be working in.
She was a private equity fund manager at the time – now she’s a venture capitalist – and he was an executive director of equity derivatives at Morgan Stanley.
The charming, slightly geeky former investment banker might not seem like an obvious candidate to be a font of knowledge about the dating world, but he is an avid reader of psychology books and, as he says, “the stats never lie”.
This is because the Chinese government aims to migrate an additional 250 million people from the countryside to the cities over the next decade – and he expects many of them to be potential customers.
China’s rising divorce rate is also driving business.
has conducted focus groups with divorcees and the findings suggest that the more economically well off women are, the less likely they are to put up with a husband they are not happy with.
“In terms of percentage, I think a lot more women in China work than women in the US.
offers two broad services: one is what Li calls a “self-service dating service” where members pay 400 yuan (US) a year to browse members’ profiles, chat and arrange dates; the other is a more exclusive offline, face-to-face matchmaking service that costs 4,000 yuan for six months.