Cross-border marriages have dropped by 30 per cent in the past decade because the mainland is catching up economically, it was claimed yesterday. Welfare experts said the trend of Hong Kong men marrying mainlanders had been declining since the 1980s. Cross-border marriages had fallen from about 10,000 in the late 1980s to about 7,000, the Hong Kong Council of Social Service said. The council said 95 per cent of marriages throughout the past decade were between Hong Kong men and Guangdong women. Angie Lai Fung-yee, vice-chairwoman of the council's family service and child-care division, said: 'Now the living standards are narrowing between the two places so [women] may be less willing to marry Hong Kong men. 'The mainland women may want more emotional commitment from men so they may not get involved with men who live further away.' She was speaking on the findings from the Guangdong-Hong Kong conference on Marriage, Family and Children held in Guangzhou, between November 9 and 11.