The Beijing marriage market: putting a price on a perfect match in a Chinese park
Children may be priceless but each one has his or her own value in Beijing’s fiercely competitive matchmaking market, according to a Hong Kong magazine published on the Chinese mainland.
Every weekend, parents hoping to find a perfect match for their single adult children head to Zhongshan Park near the Forbidden City to tout the virtues of their offspring.
They lay out sheets of paper detailing each child’s worldly assets, from academic qualifications to household registration and personal property. They also specify the qualities they are looking for in a prospective daughter or son-in-law.
Now Phoenix Weekly has put a value on those demands and assets, laying bare the unspoken rules governing this particular commodities market.
The biggest asset in the market was a Beijing hukou, or household registration, the report said.
A top-notch candidate in the husband stakes is a man with a Beijing hukou, with a flat in a downtown district, a mid-range car, a higher degree and a monthly salary of at least 50,000 yuan (US$7,370). In the Zhongshan Park market, such a man is worth anywhere between 5.61 million yuan and 13.29 million yuan, according to the report.
His perfect match would be a physically attractive woman born and bred in Beijing with a flat in downtown Dongcheng or Xicheng districts – at a pinch she could own property in the northern university district. She must have a mid- or high-end car, a month salary of 20,000 yuan and at least a bachelor’s degree to her name.
Even if a man does not have a Beijing hukou, a car or a salary above 5,000 yuan a month, he still has some prospects in the market if he owns of a flat near the capital.
The report put his value at between 830,000 yuan and 3.8 million yuan, on a marriageable par with a successful career woman with a Beijing flat, a car and a monthly salary of 50,000 yuan.
But any non-Beijing natives without a flat in the capital or neighbouring area, or a woman born in the year of the sheep need not apply, the report said.
Parents sniff at those born in other parts of country, counting their different accents and lifestyles as well as their obligations to return home during the holidays against them, according to the report.
Still, some “outsiders” still try their luck in the market to try to secure a Beijing hukou.
One man from the northeast was quoted as saying that he would consider a “slightly handicapped” woman for his wife if she was from Beijing.
But the Beijing Evening News reported that this kind of matchmaking rarely worked, quoting one parent as saying his daughter would not even meet a guy he picked out from the park.