Date
28 July 2017
If Chinese women not getting enough dates are a problem, Chinese men not getting enough choices for marriage are a bigger problem. Photo: Reuters
If Chinese women not getting enough dates are a problem, Chinese men not getting enough choices for marriage are a bigger problem. Photo: Reuters

Is leasing Romeo for Juliet the new-economy way?

Almost anything tangible can be shared in the peer-to-peer new economy.

Now, what about love, especially on one-on-one Valentine’s Day?

In what has been billed as a Couple’s Day (versus Singles’ Day on Nov. 11) event, a certain woman from Henan province has signed a 72-hour binding contract with her Romeo.

That’s right. Juliet entered into the probationary contract that guarantees companionship, with activities such as walking in the park – but no unwanted physical contact, according to Chinanews.com.

The relationship will end, or be extended, after three days.

Lady Juliet is just one of six women who signed up for the Romeo service. But this model may prove to smooth out the gender imbalance and maximise resources in today’s China, just as Uber and Airbnb have in the so-called “sharing” economy.

The boyfriend rental service is especially in demand during the Lunar New Year when singles are caught in a dilemma when they would be questioned about their dating status – if they do not give out red packets.

It has become a nuisance that calls for a solution, hence the proliferation of match-making start-ups.

Gone are the days when women bought flowers for themselves to show off in the office on Valentine’s Day. For the same budget, they can get Mr. Right on a mobile app.

If Chinese women not getting enough dates are a problem, Chinese men not getting enough choices for marriage are a bigger problem.

But unlike their Hong Kong counterparts, mainland women can count their blessings that they have a higher chance of getting married.

That was the conclusion from China having the world’s highest ratio of male-to-female newborns.

According to Yuan Xin, a Nankai University professor in Tianjin who shared his findings in China Daily, there were more than 30.5 million males than females born in China between 1980 and 2015.

Because of a distinct preference for male babies by Chinese families, the trend will continue until 2050 with another 30 million more males by that time, according to a People’s Daily article by Zhai Zhenwu, head of the China Population Association.

Now here’s the big question: How do you feed 30 million plus men (they’re enough to make a medium-sized European country)?

Finding a bride in Vietnam or Ukraine is a better proposition, Yuan said. That is a relatively affordable option also, I reckon.

Hong Kong, on the high end, is also a good alternative, given that there are more women, not to mention single women, than men in this city.

The new economy offers new opportunity. Happy Valentine’s Day.

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BK/AC/RA

EJ Insight writer

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