Podcast: Story in the Story (8/13/2019 Tue.)
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From the People's Daily app.

And this is Story in the Story. 

Sometimes romance needs a helping hand when technology plays such a vital part in daily life, and it should be of no surprise that it can help with the affairs of the heart.

China's Valentine's Day - Qixi Festival, the seventh day of the seventh lunar month on the lunar calendar, has received a boost thanks to phone app technology.

According to a report by the National Bureau of Statistics and the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the marriage rate in China has been in decline for five consecutive years.

In 2013, about 9.9 people were married for every 1,000, while last year the rate fell to 7.2 people.

People aged between 20 to 24 accounted for the highest marriage registrations before 2012, but in 2017 the age range jumped to 25 to 29.

Today’s Story in the Story looks at the influence matchmaking apps are having on China’s younger generation who are eager to meet that special someone through advanced technology.


Singles attend an eight-minute blind date held in Anshun, Guizhou province. (Photo: China Daily)

An Na and her husband will celebrate their second month of marriage by "cooking a big dinner.”

When An, an internet company employee in Shanghai, received a love letter from her groom at their wedding ceremony, the 29-year-old's eyes welled up. After dating for two years, she was finally marrying her true love.

Her matchmaker was the WeChat account, Moshang Huakai.

She discovered the platform in 2016 when one of her friends placed a post on the matchmaking account. The job was a detailed self-introduction of around 1,600 words, which included necessary information on her education, family background, hobbies, and friends' comments, as well as her expectations of her future boyfriend.

"It seemed that all the people with matchmaking posts on the platform were well-educated and as a woman with a postgraduate diploma, I wanted my future husband to have a diploma equivalent to mine," An remembered.

She was not shy and was willing to tell people I am single and looking for a relationship. "It was great to have a platform that could help me make my circumstances known to more people," said An.

An wrote a self-introduction and posted it on the platform in March 2017. The post garnered about 4,000 views with 30 responses and inquiries.

Most of the men who responded were what An was looking for as she recalled.

"I wrote in the post that I enjoy travel and have visited more than 20 countries during my postgraduate years. People who asked for my contact number shared my interests,” she said.

The detailed information An posted on the platform did help her filter out some respondents.

And then, the magic of romance took over. "I met my boyfriend four months later. He was my future Mr. Right."


A young woman joins thousands of other singles at a dating event in Dongguan, Guangdong province. (Photo: China Daily)

Over the past two years, she and her husband-to-be traveled to several cities, including Taipei, Hong Kong, and Macao.

On every trip, they got to know each other better, and they soon decided to tie the knot.

The Moshang Huakai platform has more than 150,000 followers, according to its female founders, Ma Yueliang and Long Lele, both 27. Each post generates feedback from around 30 people on average.

They set up the platform after college when they realized that a lot of people they met, both men and women, were looking for life partners.

Co-founder Ma, who works in investment, is still single and is a firm believer in "the law of attraction.”

"Before building this platform, I used to think sending posts about seeking love was embarrassing, especially for people who tend to be shy," said Ma, and added, "But now I regard it as a brave and necessary step for starting a good marriage.”

Many online matchmaking services have emerged in recent years. The three biggest service providers are Jiayuan, founded in 2003, which claims to have 190 million users; Zhenai, founded in 2005 with 170 million users; and Baihe founded in 2005 with 100 million users.

"The website provides me with a great range of choices," said Wang Ying, 32, who works for a State-owned electricity company in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. She spent $55 on Zhenai to meet people on the app for one year. 

"I made nine new female friends on WeChat in two months. Maybe none of them is the one I am looking for, but at least I broadened my circle of friends," said Wang.

(Produced by Nancy Yan Xu, Lance Crayon, Brian Lowe and Paris Yelu Xu. Music by: bensound.com. Text from Global Times and China Daily.)