That is not to say that online dating has changed the values and criteria of Chinese singles completely.
On the contrary, the primary players in this space — Jiayuan, Zhenai and Baihe — advertise themselves explicitly as marriage websites focused on helping singles find their future life partner.
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Wandering into the main gate of People’s Park, a large public gathering space in the heart of Shanghai, one might think he or she has stumbled upon a bustling flea market.
Rows of colorful stalls line the walkways, which are crowded with old couples elbowing each other to examine the thousands of offerings.
Members complain the site is full of scammers and the company does not take any steps to warn members or to remove these users from the site.
The website itself is very hard to use and very confusing.
This is the world of Chinese online dating, a nascent industry that has taken off and is expected to break two billion RMB (US$318 million) in total annual revenue by 2014, according to a recent report by Analysys International.
What is interesting about Chinese online dating is not only its rapid growth in a conservative society that frowns upon courting more than one person at a time, but also its potential to change the social norms that are part of dating both online and offline.
And while by far the most popular of these scams — fake profiles promoting escort services — will be familiar to anyone who uses Tinder in the U.
S., the remaining scams could be drawn straight from The Sting or The Grifters.
Ask a single American city-dweller about deception in the world of online dating and you'll hear a litany of familiar, if not particularly serious, complaints: exaggerated heights, photos so flattering they border on fantasy, and horndog men who overstate their desire to settle down.