China has launched a state-sponsored matchmaking service to help singles find love, with Guixi, a city in Jiangxi province, leading the way with its app “Palm Guixi.” The app uses data on single residents to build a matchmaking platform that includes a blind date function. This initiative is part of a province-wide drive to increase the marriage rate, which has been steadily declining over the past decade. In 2021, there were only 5.4 marriages per 1,000 people, compared to six in the US. Other local governments in Jiangxi are also organizing in-person events to encourage mingling among singles.
The pilot program in Jiangxi is also focused on a campaign against high “bride prices,” which is the traditional practice of a potential groom offering cash to the bride’s family before marriage. Although the civil code in China prohibits the practice, it remains common, especially in rural areas. Jiangxi topped an unofficial nationwide ranking of bride prices in 2022, with an average of 380,000 yuan. Shicheng county is attempting to eliminate “betrothal gifts” through public awareness campaigns and limits on extravagant wedding ceremonies and banquets.
Opinions on the state-sponsored matchmaking service have been mixed. Some Weibo users see it as part of the government’s efforts to increase the country’s declining birthrate, with some people expecting the Chinese population to “breed like pigs.” Nonetheless, this initiative aims to provide a solution to the growing issue of dating fatigue, offering hope to those looking for love in China.