THE UK’s Chinese community is facing a dating CRISIS, as almost half claim they’re too BUSY working to find love.
The news comes as those descended from China, the third largest ethnic minority group in Britain, prepare to celebrate their own equivalent of Valentine’s Day. The ‘Double Seventh Festival’ – which takes place on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month in the Chinese calendar – falls on August 20th this year.
It’s set against the backdrop of an ancient mythological story, in which two star-crossed lovers, a cowherd and weaver girl, are able to meet for just one day a year.
And the realities of modern-day dating among the Chinese diaspora is just as fraught.
A new survey – conducted by 2RedBeans.com, the world’s leading dating website for people of Chinese origin – has found that traditional strong work ethics are preventing British Chinese from finding partners.
Almost half, 43 per cent, said the reason for them being single was because they ‘are too busy working and have no time for dating’
What’s more, 67 per cent of the 800 male and 800 female polled, said they were not in a relationship because they didn’t have ‘enough opportunities to meet new people’.
Meanwhile 23 per cent said they were still single because they were searching for ‘the one’.
A spokeswoman for the dating website explained that this idea of dating to find the perfect long-term partner, as opposed to simply playing the field, was a deep-rooted belief in the Chinese community.
She explained: “In other communities, it’s common for people to go on a dozen or more dates a year as they enjoy the process of finding a partner.
“But within the Chinese community you’ll find that most people will only go on two or three dates a year, and to them it’s a big deal, as they look ahead to a long-term relationship and even marriage.
“That’s why a dating website like ours is so important.”
A huge 39 per cent of users said they ‘didn’t know how’ to instigate a conversation with the opposite sex while a further 16 per cent said they were ‘uncomfortable’ doing so.
And a huge 58 per cent of those looking for love said they would only date ‘one person’ before embarking on a relationship with them.
Just 8.1 per cent said they’d be looking to date ‘more than three’ people before beginning a relationship with someone.
Almost a third, 29 per cent, said they were using the dating website specifically to find ‘true love’.
The 2RedBeans spokeswoman added: “This notion of old fashioned romance and chivalry is also reflected in the fact that 65 per cent of respondents in a heterosexual relationship expected the male to pick up the bill on a first date.”
Online match-makers 2RedBeans, founded by San Francisco-based Q. Zhao, launched in the UK in March this year.
They had 20,000 people with Chinese heritage sign up in the first three months alone, and that figure is expected to grow to 50,000 by the end of the year.
And Zhao, who met her husband Victor Chang through the website, says she too experienced the difficulties of coupling in the Chinese community.
She said: “It was one of the problems I wanted to solve. I was single and I was really active, going to all these different places to meet people.
“But still I found it really hard to meet other Chinese.
“I thought, ‘If you can solve this problem for yourself then you can solve it for your friends’.”
TOP FIVE THINGS TO DO IN THE UK TO CELEBRATE CHINESE VALENTINE’S DAY IN LONDON
1. Make a wish while riding the London Eye.
2. The International Dark-Sky Association lists areas, like the Brecon Beacons and Exmoor, where you can romantically watch the night sky without light pollution ruining the view.
In the ancient Chinese legend which accompanies the Double 7th Festival, the cowherd and his love are divided by the milky way.
3. Gather the Ingredients— sugar, flour, oil and honey – to make traditional Chinese Valentine’s food ‘Qiaoguo’ and delicious snack made by deep frying a thin paste.
4. Sail a paper boat lantern in a river and make a wish.
5. Put red ribbon on both of your wrists. In Chinese culture, red ribbon is the symbol of love.