Foshan, Ningbo and Dongguan are the mainland’s most romantic cities, according to a list compiled by Amazon China based on its nationwide sales results.
Changsha, Wuxi, Kunming, Chongqing, Chengdu, Shenyang and Dalian completed the top 10 beating out Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, which ranked 13th, 19th and 22nd respectively.
The online retailer compiled its first list of China’s most romantic cities based on 2013 sales of love, wedding, romance and idol-themed books, e-books and CDs, Xinhua reported on Thursday.
The south is more romantic than the north and smaller cities and more amorous than northern counterparts, according the study results.
Contrary to the stereotype that southerners are more refined while northerners are more passionate, 60 per cent of the top 30 cities were in the south and the two northern cities in the top 10 were both in Liaoning province – Shenyang and Dalian.
Eighty per cent of the cities had populations of between 6 and 8 million and none exceeded 10 million.
Xinhua wondered whether that could be because residents of small cities led less stressful lives and have more leisure time, although their cultural activities are not as diverse.
The news agency also noted that the top cities were all economic and business hubs and most had long histories and rich cultures.
But commenters were sceptical about a list based solely on sales and ridiculed Dongguan’s inclusion after a recent CCTV expose of the rampant prostitution in what it called China’s “sex capital”.
“Everyone has their own definition of romance,” one wrote.
“Is having culture, having money and buying romantic cultural works romance?” another asked. “Can you learn romance from a book or film?”
One commenter wrote, “If you have money, everywhere is romantic. If you don’t, even Paris is hell.”
Another pointed out that China’s biggest cities had large bookstores everywhere, so residents did not need to shop online.