It was love at first sight for marketing executive Lu Yun when he was introduced to his girlfriend two years ago.
But the 28-year-old adman from Shanghai has found that when it comes to the four-letter word, it is money that talks.
In fact, it was the subject of the couple's frequent fights - before they decided to "take a break" from the relationship early this year, he said.
"She made it very clear: An apartment works. No apartment, no-go," Lu said.
A recent snap poll conducted online by the China Youth Daily and qq.com, an online community visited mostly by young people, showed a growing number of the country's young adults shared the view of Lu's girlfriend.
Nearly half the 8,932 respondents said that money and other financial packages are the most important preconditions for love.
Many young singles are also checking out the financial status of their potential partners before getting married.
Of those surveyed, 85.5 percent said the younger generation paid more attention to financial status when considering potential life partners than previous generations.
Lu, for example, said he cannot afford to buy an apartment.
"The mortgage is about 7,000 yuan ($950) a month," said the man, whose monthly salary is about 8,000 yuan.
Sometimes he complains about his plight, but he does not blame his girlfriend.
"Housing prices are so high and everything is expensive in the city. Marrying a rich man equals a good marriage," he said.
But all is not lost for love.
The survey also found 40 percent of those polled considered true love paramount in a relationship, while 40 percent still believed in love at first sight.
"I still believe my generation will choose partners because they like each other," John Zhao, 27, a civil servant from Beijing, said.
"We have more options and experience than our parents."
Zhao said many marriages of the previous generation were arranged by family members or their work units, where responsibility and duty subsequently played a part in sustaining the union.
"Placing more importance on money doesn't mean there is no true love," he said.
Zhang Yuzhang, an associate professor of sociology at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology, told the China Youth Daily: "Love is a feeling. It needs material support to become real, solid and lasting."
(China Daily November 27, 2007)