This is one of the most viewed news on eastday.com today.
Last week, one lifestyle magazine that primarily targets young women held several outdoor match-making parties at the busiest shopping district in Shanghai, and it attracted 50 participants and thousands of onlookers.
One hopeful candidate feeding his target a piece of sushi as part of the match-making game.
Match-making is hardly new in China. It is also a really old-fashioned thing in a lot of countries such as Japan, Korea, India and many more. However, even nowadays, people sometimes just need a little bit of extra help, and match-making seems to be quite a popular thing especially if it's got a bit of glossy marketing spin to it, like this outdoor party/magazine promotion campaign. I kind of wonder if these people are genuine participants or they are models hired by the magazine because they are so much better looking than the average Shanghainese (well, the ones that I know of, but maybe my sample is not representative).
Another type of match-making party that's popular (but less fashionable) in China is classifieds-in-a-park. Pieces of paper with people's personal details are "aired" on strings like laundry and interested parties (usually parents) just shop around in the park. Much less interactive, well, it's not exactly a party.
In Japan, match-making parties are called 合コン(Gokon), and it seems to be a must for all university students. It's like a group date, so people are who shy or nervous can safely tag along more talkative friends to meet guys/girls. I guess it's also less of a commitment as it's not one on one.
Gokon Party in Japan
I once witnessed a Gokon party at an izakaya (居酒屋) in Roppongi (六本木). It was three guys and three girls. At the beginning they were all polite and reserved, as dinner went on and also with the help of alcohol, things started to get more heated. Eventually one girl was totally drunk and passed out in the lap of one of the guys. Not sure what happened after that, though.