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Matchmaking event opens door to senior singles
By Hu Min

SINGLE seniors can now join the search for the perfect partner at Shanghai’s largest matchmaking party.

Organizers of Fourth Shanghai Matchmaking Expo announced yesterday that they are raising the maximum age of attendees from 45 to 60 years old.

The event itself is being extended from two to three days.

Although popularly known as the “10,000-Person Matchmaking Event,” the last gathering in May attracted some 32,000 participants.

The age range has been extended because many middle-aged and senior singles — including divorcees and those who lost their spouses — have expressed strong interest in taking part, said Zhou Juemin, director of the city’s matchmaking association.

The association hosted a separate matchmaking event targeting this older age group last December, attracting more than 500 people, even though there was a 100 yuan (US$16.12) admission fee.

The bulk were divorced or widowed, and while most were aged between 45 and 65, a few were in their 70s and 80s.

At the previous three Shanghai Matchmaking Expo gatherings, only singles under 45 were permitted, and most were younger than 35.

The event will be held at Zhaoxiang in suburban Qingpu District from November 9 to 11, the final day of which is China’s Singles Day.

The date November 11 — 1111 — has come to be associated with “unattached” in China, because of the single number ones it contains.

But it’s not a happy “holiday” for many unattached Chinese.

Women in their late-20s and men in their mid-30s who are still unmarried are sometimes described as “left-over” people in China.

“Left-over men and women have become a social problem, and this wave of singles is forecast to last 10 to 15 years,” Zhou said.

Sun Mei’e, deputy director of the Shanghai Women’s Federation, attributes this to a number of factors.

These include: a lack of channels for meeting other singles at work; the tradition that stresses men must be financially stronger than women in a marriage at a time when women’s economic power is growing; and a shortage of good matchmaking agencies, said Sun.

Applications for a place at the event open today and run until November 1.

While there is no admission fee for singles, as before, anyone accompanying them is charged 50 yuan.

Alas, expats looking for love cannot attend the event, as under regulations matchmaking agencies in China cannot provide the service for foreigners.

The Shanghai Matchmaking Expo was first held in Songjiang District in 2011. This is the second gathering this year, following the event in May.

It has attracted 100,000 participants since its launch, say organizers.

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