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Solo Living and Dating for Expats in China

Author: Jason Zhou
Submitted: August 2013

Solo-living has become popular in China in the last two decades. The one-child policy, rising divorce rate and the rocketing economy have dramatically changed the demographic picture in China. Young people leave their families to fight for their future in bigger cities. However, this does not only happen to people who are single. It is also very common that married people live in different cities alone in order to get a better paid job, or broadly speaking, to get a brighter future.

However, solo living does not mean they are lonely. Often they will work in the day time and meet with friends or colleagues in the evening. Night life in China is the most important leisure time of the day. People may go out to have dinner with family and friends or go shopping; most of the businesses will open until midnight.   

If you are moving to China on your own you may feel lonely at first, especially if you do not speak Mandarin. This will only last a few weeks as life in China is bustling and vibrant. You may find life is easier if you are living in a larger city, although the living cost there would be much higher. However, in large cities, most of the public facilities provide foreign language directions and signs. Often there is a larger cultural diversity and it may be easier to find people who have the same interests as you in certain clubs or groups.  Of course, dating is always another way for you to meet with others.

Dating services have become popular in China in the last ten years. There are many ways to find a loved one or make friends in China. Many people find their another-half or friends through social networks. This is a traditional and reliable way. There are also many marriage agencies in China providing help.  Some are good but some may not be as you think. Social media such as; Weibo, Renren and QQ groups are also very popular.

Weibo is similar to Twitter and Renren is similar to Facebook.  QQ is a giant internet company providing many popular functions such as; instant audio or video chatting, Weibo, Weixin, QQ groups and others. Weixin is a mobile application to send and receive voice messages between two users. An interesting function of Weixin is you can shake your mobile to find other users currently near you.  

Aside from those above, dating websites are also a good choice. There are many dating websites providing services for people based in China. As most of them are in Chinese, it might be difficult if you do not know Chinese. Popular websites are www.baihe.com , which has 60 million registered members, and www.jayuan.com, which has 90 million registered members.

Another way to find these websites is to search via Baidu. Baidu is a domestic search engine, similar to Google. Its website is https://www.baidu.com/. However, it is not good at searching in other languages. You can use Google in China but you may experience difficulties as Google left China a few years ago.  

Normally, to use these dating sites you would need to register yourself and create a profile. In most cases you may need to pay for using them. Some dating websites do offer free services. However, there is a general view that paid dating websites provide better services than free ones.

When you provide any personal information to a website, you need to be careful about the security of your information. The online dating scam is becoming a problem.  If you find that someone you are dating asks you to give them money, you may have encountered an online dating scam.  

To avoid this, you should bear in mind that most of time it is too good to be true. You can also find some dating tips to avoid such scams by searching online using key words such as ‘dating scam’ or ‘romance scam’. 

If you do find or you suspect you are scammed, you should stop contacting and paying any money to the fraudsters. You can also contact the local police station. If there is an emergency, you should call 110.



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