More Hong Kong Web surfers are finding love online. As people spend more time at their desktops than with families, inevitably many Net users are taking their online relationships more seriously. Ms Ng, who declined to reveal her given name, met her future husband - a Taiwanese emigre in the United States - two years ago on America Online chat forums. She said there was nothing unusual about meeting friends over the Internet. 'We did not choose this way,' said the 25-year-old piano teacher. 'Since we are thousands of miles apart, the Internet seems to be the only way, or I should say it is the most efficient way.' Their friendship grew, they met and eventually married last year and now live in California, where Ms Ng's husband is an aerospace engineer. 'The Internet does make cross-country dating easier, but I do not think online dating is anything different from dating in person,' Ms Ng said. 'Individuality is still the main factor determining whether a relationship will work. 'I always feel that Chinese, especially Hong Kong Chinese, are very adventurous. We are always open to new ideas. Maybe the older generation is still sceptical about the Internet, but I think in general online friends are very popular in Hong Kong society.' Ms Ng is not alone in her enthusiasm. Hong Kong is home to scores of personals sites such as long-established Dinner For Six or Dateasia.com, aiming to match young Asian professionals. Yahoo! Hong Kong, with 1.2 million visitors each month, attracts Web surfers with its free chat rooms and message boards. A Yahoo! Hong Kong spokesman said: 'It is one of the most popular products on our site. It may be due to increasing Internet penetration and broadband development. Also, the Government has been promoting IT [information technology] education so many school students are taught Internet knowledge. They like to go to chat rooms where they can make friends with similar interests.' An Intel survey last year found South Korean women were the region's most romantic surfers, with 33 per cent willing to consider marrying an online partner. In Greater China, almost a third of the Taiwanese people surveyed were willing to marry an online partner. At the other end of the scale, 91 per cent of Australian women disapproved of the idea. A survey by Lycos subsidiary Matchmaker.com found that 70 per cent of single people regarded online dating as a mainstream activity. More than 80 per cent considered it safe or safer than meeting someone at a bar. Almost 60 per cent said they were likely to join an online dating service, compared to 29 per cent two years ago. Love online has also meant good business for Microsoft's MSN.com.hk, where users can sign up free and browse profiles of other members. They pay HK$10 and up to make contact. MSN Hong Kong director Celina Chan said: 'In Asia, Singapore users are the most active in profile making and spend the largest amount of money on subscriptions, but Hong Kong has the largest percentage of referrals from our portal. It shows Hong Kong people are interested in such services. 'It is particularly appealing to our core users - mature professional people who do not have much time for hanging out but are willing to pay for seeking-partner services.' She expected the traffic to increase 10 per cent to 20 per cent this week over the Valentine's and Lunar New Year period. MSN.com.hk has about 1.4 million users, with more than 35 per cent aged between 25 and 34. Ms Chan declined to reveal how much the service earned, but said it intended to extend the service to the mainland. Hong Kong's gay community is also fond of the online cupid. Lesbian site Queer Sisters (QS), at www.qs.org.hk , has allowed users to post information on its site since November. QS spokeswoman Eunice Au said: 'It's enjoying overwhelming support. At the peak period, there were 340 messages and we had to close the site because it was overloaded.' The board mainly attracts teenagers and people over 30, who are attracted by the Internet's anonymity. 'For those in their 30s, they have stable jobs or still hold with traditional values. They dare not 'come out',' she said. Ms Au said the board had helped many lesbians find partners. 'In Hong Kong, there are not many places for gay people to meet others and make new friends. The Internet has no doubt helped them communicate within the community.'