Thursday, March 26, 2009

Financial crisis takes the gloss off foreign grooms

0023ae5d932f0b33c6542b.jpgIf you're a foreigner keen on marrying a Chinese, she is more likely to say bu this year - and you can blame Lehman Bros et al for it.

Two nationwide surveys, conducted at the beginning of last year and earlier this year by major Chinese matchmaking agency, show that women are now less inclined to marry someone from outside the country.

The latest poll, with the September 2008 bankruptcy of Lehman Bros as a watershed, and conducted from December to February, shows that women who intend to wed foreigners plunged from 42.5 percent in the survey last year to 16.8 percent. At the same time, those who viewed cross-cultural marriages with approval fell from 72 points to 54, with 100 indicating the most favorable.

"This indicates that with the impact of the financial crisis, women are more prudent in choosing a foreign partner, and they are most concerned about financial stability and sense of security because of the spending culture in Western countries," explained Fang Fang, chief relationship consultant at the agency.

According to Fang, the surveys were conducted on both single and married women in the form of questionnaires, which were sent out to the agency's members or given to those who attended its social activities.

The number of international marriages has been growing along with China's increasing interaction with other countries, figures from information portal showed last December. There are about 400,000 international marriages in the country every year, the portal reported.

For Bao Lu, a marketing specialist in her 20s with Trends Traveler magazine, the term "international marriage" conjures up images of media magnate Rupert Murdoch and his wife Wendi.

She thinks it needs courage to marry a person from another culture because cultural differences are a major issue. "But if you meet the right person at the right time at the right place, then go ahead. I don't believe money will come into the equation. I can accept a foreign husband if he's Mr Right," Bao added.

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