New dating trend sees China youth flock to live matchmaking events at famous tourist site in search of love, fascinates mainland social media

Crowds gather to try different approach to dating, one person travels 9 hours. Women list criteria for dream partner, men compete to fulfil their wishes. — SCMP

A new matchmaking trend has emerged among young adults in China in which women boldly declare their preferences on stage at a famous tourist site, and men step forward if they meet the criteria.

The live event, called “Auntie Wang’s Matchmaking”, which takes place in Kaifeng in China’s central Henan province has attracted widespread attention on mainland social media.

An enthusiastic crowd of young adults attended one recent gathering, with some even climbing trees to get a better view.

Women at the event were encouraged by Auntie Wang, the host and the matchmaker, to openly share their requirements in a partner, prompting interested men who met the criteria to step forward.

Large numbers of young adults are travelling to the top tourist spot in search of romance. Photo: Weibo

Emphasis was placed on directness, with potential matches quickly exchanging WeChat contact details to further explore their connections.

Auntie Wang also provides guidance on how they should approach and date each other.

One notable attendee, a 20-year-old woman from Shandong province in eastern China, had travelled for nine hours to take part in the event.

In a trending online video, another woman expressed her preference for “handsome, wealthy” men, capturing the attention of two young men who competed for her interest on stage.

One came from Shandong and claimed to own a mountain and eight properties.

An amused Auntie Wang advised the wealthy Shandong suitor to focus on expressing genuine affection rather than simply showcasing his wealth.

“Can you say ‘I cannot contain my feelings, I came here just for you. I fell for you at first sight, I think of you day and night’,” she suggested.

Another was a “second-generation” beneficiary of a demolition and relocation company from Zhengzhou, Henan, who told the woman he had attended the event specifically hoping to find her.

Originally intended to be a local performance, the event has unexpectedly become a dating platform for many of the post-2000 generation, creating a new space for them to explore romantic possibilities.

Auntie Wang disclosed that a one-day event at the location could easily accommodate three online matchmaking groups, each made up of 500 members.

She told Henan Broadcasting System that a young man, who had silently harboured feelings for a young woman for seven years, finally gathered the courage to confess his affection at the event. Live on stage, she agreed to start a relationship with him.

So far, the function has brought together about 50 couples.

“Among the guests who have come up on my stage, one couple has already had a child, and there are others deeply in love. I feel that is quite an accomplishment,” said Wang.

A young couple appear on stage with a veteran matchmaker widely known as “Auntie Wang”. Photo: Weibo

“At over 60 years old, I’m thrilled to still be able to make a difference by helping the youth in my own small way,” she said.

In 2023, China experienced its first marriage-rate rebound after a decade-long decline, with 7.68 million couples tying the knot, according to data released by the Ministry of Civil Affairs on March 15, 2023.

This trend has resonated with the public.

“Why did I not know Kaifeng had such a place earlier?” one online observer said.

“No joke, I suggest this matchmaker goes on a national tour,” said another.

“Wait for me, I’m heading there at the end of this month,” a third said. – South China Morning Post

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