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Sick of unsuccessful blind dates set up by her parents and unable to stand the social scrutiny of meeting potential dates at bars in her city, Zhou registered on Jiayuan, a Chinese dating website.

The site is typically used by young singles between 24 and 35 and is commonly viewed as a tool for seeking long-term relationships and possibly marriage.

Despite these changes, Chinese parents still have great influence in their children’s romantic lives.

The older generation often takes responsibility for arranging blind dates for young adults, but only when they are old enough to be married.

On dating apps, Zhou says, “We have the autonomy to decide if we feel good about and would like to meet this potential date in real life.” When Jiayuan’s founder Gong Haiyan was a Masters student at Shanghai’s ultra-competitive Fudan University, she came up with the idea for the website in the hopes of helping her busy college friends find love.

’ whereas a Chinese individual tended to ask, ‘What will other people say?

She found that it was not only easy to use and fit the pace of her busy professional life, but it also expanded her dating pool beyond local men in her city to access potential partners of better quality from other regions.

“I cannot deny that there are good guys in my local city,” said Zhou on traditional dating, “but I didn’t find any quality matches after getting to know them.” An increasing number of Chinese have turned to online dating and dating apps.

Matchmaking is a long-standing cultural practice in China.

Before 1950, many marriages were arranged by parents who followed the rule of “matching doors and parallel windows,” or 成家立业 -- that is to get married, have children and please their families.

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