CHINA is offering £110 rewards for “matchmakers” who hook single men up with their friends in order to battle the country’s “bachelor crisis”.
Local governments across the country have promised other rewards as an incentive to help single men aged 30 and above find wives in rural villages.
GettyMatchmakers will be offered financial incentives to find single Chinese men a wife[/caption]
China currently has about 30 million unmarried men, and some policymakers worry the imbalance will affect stability and development in the countryside.
From Guangdong province in the south to Shaanxi in the northwest, incentive programmes were due to get underway this month, Chinese news site The Paper reported on Saturday.
The report also adds that more will begin in February, write the South China Morning Post.
The village council of Xiangjiazhuang in Shaanxi province announced it would give 1,000 CNY (£110.88) to those who introduce an unmarried man to a woman he eventually marries from January 1.
The village is home to about 270 households and more than 40 unmarried men between the ages of 25 and 40, according to the report.
But it’s a worrying trend taking over the majority of the country, where its estimated there are about 30 million men without a wife.
According to China’s 2020 census, the country has 722 million men and 690 million women.
Despite China having dropped their one-child policy in 2015, the gender imbalance is most prominent among those born during that 35 year period.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the gender ratio in rural areas in 2021 was about 108 men for every 100 women.
The deeply ingrained preference for parents to have boys over girls and women leaving to work in cities are believed to be the reasons behind this.
But Yi Fuxian, a senior scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who studies Chinese demographics, states financial intensives will not solve the issues at hand.
“Simple cash incentives can’t possibly solve the bachelor crisis in rural China,” Yi said.
“The high rate of youth unemployment nowadays also contributes to the low marriage rate.
“Young men cannot afford to support their families, so of course they cannot afford to get married.
“Now that China’s local governments are in a debt crisis, it is difficult for the authorities to introduce higher incentives to promote fertility, let alone marriage.”
But plans to battle the ongoing dilemma go as far back as October 2021, when a Chinese Communist Party writer proposed a four-pronged solution to “revitalise” the countryside.
Jiang Wenlai, of the party-affiliated news site Red Net, called it “operation warm the older men’s beds”.
It suggested a blind-date matchmaking service, simplified paperwork for starting families in villages, more high-paying rural job opportunities, and propaganda campaigns promoting “marriage and childbearing”.
Unfortunately for Jiang, Chinese social media users promptly ridiculed the “operation”.
In 2023, China reported a population drop for the second consecutive year, along with a record-low birth rate.
The country’s mainland population fell by 2.08 million, according to figures released by the NBS earlier this month, dropping from 1.4097 billion down to 1.4118 billion.
One migrant worker in her late 20s from central China told SCMP that the issue lies with young women from rural areas who “are not interested in getting married.”
Yang Zi, who works at a hair salon in Guangzhou, said: “I want to live in a rich and developed area.
“A rural young man can’t offer the lifestyle I want.”
According to a 2021 Communist Youth League survey of 2,905 unmarried urban youths aged 18 to 26, statistics back up Yang’s claims.
Just 43.9 per cent of women said they did not want to get married or were unsure about marriage, while just 24.6 per cent of men responded the same way.
The report adds that China’s Generation Z has the biggest gender ratio imbalance of any age group.
With 18.27 million more men than women, it’s no surprise there are so many left without a female partner to marry.
But Chinese officials are now sweating over the impact this “demographic timebomb” could have on the economy, write The Guardian.
With a shrinking population of working taxpayers, the rising costs of aged care and financial support are in danger of not being met.
As a result, the state-run Chinese Academy of Sciences has predicted the pension system will run out of money within ten years.
By 2035, it’s feared the number of people aged 60 and above will have increased from about 280 million to 400 million.
Elsewhere, the “world’s tallest woman” has died under unusual circumstances after finding fame as Chinese TikTok star.
Xiao Mo, 23, of Shaoyang, southwestern Hunan province, was dubbed ‘The Giant’ due to her 7.5ft frame.
And at least nine people died – with a further 47 buried alive – after a massive landslide struck a mountainous village in China.
The tragedy happened in Liangshui in the northeastern part of Yunnan province on Monday and forced the evacuation of 200 amid freezing temperatures.
China’s declining population
China has a current population of 1.412 billion – the second-highest in the world.
Once the most populated country on the planet, the government implemented a one-child policy between 1980-2015 to help control numbers.
But there is now a major gender imbalance – and it’s most prominent among those born during that 35 year period.
It has left China with about 30 million unmarried men, a surplus that policymakers now fear could affect social stability and economic development.
The problem is worse in rural areas, however, where many women prefer to leave and pursue a career in the cities.
In order to combat this issue, China is now offering cash rewards and other incentives to matchmakers to introduce women to unmarried men aged 30 and above.