Schooling for the lonely hearts club
Who said romance was dead?
China, the world's second-largest economy, has made enormous strides: extraordinary growth, international political clout, not to mention a huge market for black Audis and LV bags. It has also produced about 189 billionaires and almost a million millionaires, creating an enormous pool of eligible bachelors.
There lies a market to be tapped by the savvy entrepreneur: potentially millions of women who want to learn skills to help them nab a rich guy for their money ... ahem ... heart.
Matchmaking services for the rich have been operating in the West for years, but not so long on the mainland. Yes, there are matchmaking balls, cruises and bikini parades where wealthy men can select brides. There are even 'recruitment fashion parades' where China's high-flying chief executives can ogle and hire wannabe secretaries, perhaps a new mistress.
Now 'schools' are tapping the market. At one, the Beijing Moral Education Centre, 20,000 yuan (HK$24,220) buys a 30-hour course. It's like the feminine version of boot camp for male pick-up artists, except the skills taught are not the 30-second rule or the wing-man technique. Ladies learn skills such as tea pouring etiquette, make-up application and good conversation. Geishas with attitude, it could be said.
They even teach how to spot a liar - a handy skill to weed out pretenders with ulterior motives from interfering with a girl's own ulterior motives.
Graduates walk away with qualities a prospective wealthy partner may find attractive. Now all they have to do is find one.
Each to their own, but is this really about finding love? You decide. We'll just wax lyrical with this plea: China, don't lose that loving feeling.