A state-sponsored matchmaking app has rolled out in China’s eastern province of Jiangxi. Launched in the city of Guixi, a city with a population of around 640,000 people, the app “Palm Guixi” uses data on single residents to organise blind dates.
Throughout the province, local authorities are said to be organising in-person events in areas such as parks to get people mingling. According to The Guardian, around 100 young singles gathered in Ruizhou Fuya park in Gao’an city for one of the matchmaking events, where they could dress up in traditional clothing and play games to get to know each other while feeling “the profoundness of Chinese culture”.
At the same time, the Jiangxi pilot is a campaign to clamp down on the tradition where a prospective husband pays a sum to his bride-to-be’s family, as the skyrocketing prices are viewed as partially responsible for young people’s reluctance to get married.
The arrival of the app comes as part of the province’s initiative to boost the marriage rate, which has been declining throughout the country for the past decade as young Chinese people grow reluctant to tie the knot. The number getting married for the first time dropped to 11.6 million last year, almost 700,000 down on the previous year. This was well down to a peak of 23.9 million in 2013.
So far, online reactions to the newfound matchmaking service have been mixed. Many netizens on Weibo linked the move to the government’s push to boost China’s rapidly falling population and birth rate, which saw a steep decline for the first time in six decades.