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Last Updated: Monday, 28 August 2006, 09:56 GMT 10:56 UK
Group dating takes off in China
A woman waits for the subway at a station in Beijing
Many young urbanites work too hard to meet people
Busy Chinese urbanites are flocking to try something new in the quest for love - group dating.

The mass events, which draw hundreds of single men and women, have climbed in popularity since they were introduced in Chinese cities.

One event in Zhejiang in April attracted 12,658 participants, Xinhua news agency said, while 10,000 showed up for another in Shanghai.

The events appeal to China's new ranks of urban educated professionals.

Cities are full of young workers, but singletons who spend long hours at the office end up with no time to meet other people, said Wu Xiuping of the Beijing Municipal Women's Federation.

The federation has been organising sessions in the capital for three years, Xinhua said, bringing more than 300 couples together.

At the dating events, men and women are put into groups to get to know each other and, if they want to, can swap telephone numbers at the end.

Ms Wu said group dating was particularly popular with women.

"Women have to study and work harder to succeed in society, therefore many girls have missed the best time for husband hunting," she said.

One participant, Hu Liu, fell into that category. "I am at the age to seriously think of marriage, but it's hard for me to meet and get to know guys," she said.

Ms Hu did not really expect to meet a potential spouse, but there were other benefits, she said.

"At least I can make some female friends who are like me."




SEE ALSO
China marks Qixi lovers' festival
31 Jul 06 |  Asia-Pacific
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24 Oct 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: China
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