Dai Wensheng visited Vietnam for the first time in September - and came back with a wife. The 42-year-old Nanjing dance school owner has been back seven times since, leading groups of mainland bachelors looking for the marital bliss described on his blog. Vietnamese women were young, virtuous, pretty, hard-working, obedient and gentle, he wrote, unlike their money-worshipping, greedy mainland counterparts. That description struck a chord with male internet users, with almost every major online forum on the mainland featuring fevered discussion of his success and thousands of bachelors from across the nation calling him, seeking to copy it. Reports of a gender imbalance that will see the mainland home to 24 million unmarriageable bachelors in 2020 has added to the urgency of their search and prompted many to look south, towards Vietnam. It all started with a 15-day trip to Vietnam that cost Dai a total of 35,000 yuan (HK$39,800). Dai, who previously had a Chinese wife, spent about 80 yuan to publish a marriage-wanted advertisement in a Vietnamese newspaper and, with the help of local matchmakers, met about 100 Vietnamese women. A month later, he registered his marriage to 23-year-old Ngan in her hometown of Haiphong, northern Vietnam, and now lives with her in Nanjing. 'Marrying a Vietnamese girl is very simple and there is a plentiful supply too,' Dai said. 'You only need to obtain the girl's parents' consent and then you can organise the banquet, and the marriage certificate can be done soon after. 'Usually, obtaining the marriage certificate requires about a month. Then, the husband can take his Vietnamese bride back to China.' The number of Vietnamese women marrying men from the mainland has soared in recent years, according to Vietnamese-based matchmaking agencies. 'In the past, Taiwan and South Korea were the favourite destinations for Vietnamese women who wanted to marry foreigners. But we have seen a change since 2008 and more and more men from the mainland are seeking wives in Vietnam,' Xie Junping , of Hanoi-based Wtovisa Vietnamwife Marriage Agency, said. 'In 2007, we helped 14 men from the mainland marry Vietnamese women. Most of them had been working in Hanoi. Then, in 2008, an interesting thing happened, with many of their friends on the mainland contacting us and saying they were also interested in looking for a Vietnamese wife. We helped about 80 men from the mainland find Vietnamese wives that year. 'Last year, our agency helped nearly 90 couples, even though we stopped the business for personal reasons between January and April. I'm sure the number this year will be double or triple last year's. 'We find the mainland market has great potential and are thinking about devoting 70 per cent of our staff to develop that business.' Xie said most transnational marriages from Vietnam involved Taiwanese men but those from the north of the border could come to outnumber them given the mainland's bullish economic prospects and the more favourable visa policies Vietnam offers to mainlanders. 'Vietnamese women will become more and more popular with Chinese men since they look similar to Chinese women, are gentle, housewifely and slim and share a similar traditional culture.' Mainland bachelors are not as attractive as their rivals in Taiwan, South Korea or the West in financial or material terms, Vietnamese brides say, but they win their hearts by being respectful and having a strong sense of family responsibility. With the help of a marriage agency, 26-year-old Nguyen Thi Lam from Can Tho in southern Vietnam and some other women from her hometown went on a blind date with several men from the mainland last year. She is now married to a 37-year-old man from Tianjin and lives with her husband and parents-in-law in the northern city. Nguyen's husband runs a newspaper stall, but she says she is satisfied with her new life in China. 'I would never have left Can Ton and Vietnam if I had not married him,' she said. 'I felt very impressed when I arrived in Tianjin. The city is very modern and beautiful. 'Now I can go shopping myself by subway. I'm the first of my family to ride the Metro. I have had many new experiences in China. 'I'm very happy to be with my husband. He's not rich but he cares about my feelings and is a one-woman type of man. He works hard to support the whole family but also helps me with the housework.' 'I did not like China before and thought it was an autocracy as bad as Vietnam. But applications to marry Taiwanese and other foreign men have become complicated and take at least six months or even longer. So many women in my hometown have turned to Chinese men. It's much easier.' Ruan Chi Van, a translator who helps mainland men communicate with Vietnamese women during blind dates, said men were still regarded as superior to women in most Vietnamese minds, especially in rural areas. 'We all think foreign men are better than Vietnamese men,' she said. 'Many Vietnamese are very lazy and playboys. Many are bigamists. 'Vietnam was at war for decades and Vietnamese women had to take on all the duties of men during wartime. That tradition has stuck now. Foreign travellers feel strange, since those they see working hard on farmland and building sites are always Vietnamese women, not men. 'After working like a horse, Vietnamese women take care of the housework and family. The men usually go out for beer and cool tea and only go home when dinner is ready. 'We used to long to marry men in Taiwan, South Korea and the United States, for a better life in developed and rich countries. But the feedback from our sisters marrying on the mainland did not sound bad. 'Taiwanese men are usually in their 40s and 50s, much older than us and chauvinistic. But the mainland men are in their 30s and 40s and respect women. They work hard and help wives do housework. They even go back to Vietnam with their wives for our traditional festivals. That's all a Vietnamese woman can dream of, especially in rural areas.' Nguyen said she still needed time to adapt to the cold weather of northern China and the language. 'I have no skills to find a job here,' she said. 'I think most Vietnamese women can only be housewives on the mainland, dependent on their husbands.' 'I can't send as much money to my parents as those marrying in Taiwan or South Korea. But I think our life in China will be better as the country's economy grows so fast.' Cross-border marriages have been happening since ancient times. More recently, in the 1990s, many women from northern Vietnam were sold as wives to men living in rural parts of Guangxi , Guangdong and Yunnan . Mainland media say more than 15 men living in the village of Datong, in Guangdong's Gaoliang county, bought Vietnamese wives. What's different now is that the mainland suitors are visiting Vietnam and are middle-aged men from cities who cannot find local wives because of the widening gender imbalance and skyrocketing house prices. 'Our clients are from various cities on the mainland, like Harbin , Beijing, Tianjin in northern China, Shanghai, Nanjing and Ningbo in the east and Guangzhou in the south,' Xie said. 'More than 60 or 70 per cent of them are aged from their mid-30s to mid-40s, with an average annual salary of around 30,000 yuan. Some of them are civil servants and even factory bosses. They all want a gentle and housewifely wife.' Dai's description and pictures of his wife Ngan sparked the interest of numerous mainland internet users. 'Most women I met in Vietnam are traditional, low maintenance and quietly charming,' he said. 'That's much better than Chinese girls, who want only money ... The gentle and obedient nature of Vietnamese girls is appealing. None of them demanded that I have an apartment or a car. 'My ex-wife wanted LV bags and a new car from me while my Vietnamese wife takes care of the laundry, cooking and cleaning, and even peels the shells off shrimp for me. For the first time, I feel beloved and spoiled.' Dai said he had previously had blind dates with several women in Nanjing but found they were mainly interested in money and finances. Many male internet users agree with Dai and think that Chinese girls are too demanding. 'Chinese girls have such strict financial requirements for men, and no longer value being hard-working and kind. So men have to go to Vietnam to find women with these qualities,' one internet user said on Dai's blog. Another said: 'Chinese girls now are becoming more and more outrageous, everything is about money and property - not one bit of traditional character left.' Dai tells them that for 35,000 yuan, 'including air tickets, certificates, the wedding and even a lavish, 80-table banquet, you too can be the proud man standing beside a young, pretty and obedient wife, and all within one or two months'. 'Brothers, drop the greedy, lazy and arrogant Chinese women who ask for property worth millions of yuan. Come to Vietnam for perfect wives.' Dai said he had received more than 10,000 text messages from mainland men asking to join trips to Vietnam. Since October, he has helped 28 mainlanders look for Vietnamese brides, saying almost all found their dream wives. 'I'm thinking of opening a marriage agency and Chinese language school in Vietnam,' he said. 'It would be a good business. And the ridiculous thing is, as I'm busy with my new career in Vietnam, I've received anonymous calls from Chinese women at night, attacking me with harsh words, saying I'm a troublemaker out to make society unstable.'