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Show Me the Money, Say Spouse Seekers

Girl wants to marry boy. Requirements: Appearance - don't care; job/career - don't care; money - must have, and lots of it.

Lin Feifei, a 26-year-old in Nanjing, capital of East China's Jiangsu Province, is typical of an emerging trend in the city - women want a boyfriend or a husband with a hefty bank balance.

"I don't care about his appearance or job, but I want him to be rich, or, at least, he should have the potential to be rich," she said.

Most female spouse-seekers registering at Gulou Matchmaker Office, one of the largest matrimonial agencies in the city, want to find a rich boyfriend or husband, said Lu Mingyun, head of the office.

Many require that their partners have a monthly salary of more than 3,000 yuan (US$360), 5,000 yuan (US$600) or even 10,000 yuan (US$1,200) - income levels which are envied not only in the province but also in the country's economically booming areas.

More than 90 per cent stipulate that their partners should have private apartments; and about 35 per cent want them to own private cars.

Ironically, maybe because of mounting pressure on men to earn more, few of them seek matchmakers; women far outnumber them in the agencies.

According to Lu, in the first 10 days of February, 35 women registered at his office, compared with a mere nine men.

It is indicative that many young men are postponing their nuptials and turning up at matchmakers later, which could bring about a change in the age mix of couples.

Many young men insist that they first settle in their careers before getting married.

"I do not think finding a girlfriend is an urgent matter for me now; maybe three or five years later when I have more money, I will think of finding someone to marry," said Zhou Fei, a 29-year-old who already has his own apartment in the city and a car.

Recent surveys indicate China is becoming an increasingly materialistic society, with pressure to earn more to spend more - especially on men.

The most recent measure by which social scientists judge the disparity of income distribution in a country shows that the income gap in China is wider than that in the United States, Japan, South Korea and India.

Many people think that the high financial parameters set for male spouses are reasonable. "Nobody wants to marry a penniless man and live a poor life. Therefore, I think choosing a rich boyfriend is right, so that the girl can lead a comfortable life after marriage," said Mao Xiaoxia, a 25-year-old Nanjing resident.

In response, almost all advertisements placed by male marriage-seekers in local newspapers indicate how much they earn.

But money does not seem the priority for men.

"If I want to find a girlfriend, I will have many requirements such as pretty appearance, good character and stable job," said Zhou.

(Xinhua News  Agency  March 8, 2004)

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