Dating in China

Updated 2022-09-18 13:11

Meeting new people in a foreign country can seem overwhelming at first. But you shouldn't let fear stand in the way of new friendships, and maybe more. In this mini-guide, we are looking into China's dating scene and what it might look like for expats.


Stats about dating in China

According to the latest Chinese census (May 2021), China was home to over 800,000 expats. However, following the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of foreigners left the country and were unable to come back. Because of this, the expat community in China is now substantially smaller.

We can safely assume that a decent portion of this group is single and ready to meet new people. Plus, many foreigners in China are open to dating outside the expat bubble, and dating and long-term relationships are not uncommon between expats and locals. You will find a much larger dating pool in China's first-tier cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and others.

Dating in China: how it works

If you are navigating the dating world in one of China's first-tier cities, the dating process itself may not be that different from what you would expect back home. If you meet someone and make a connection, you can invite them on a date: for coffee, dinner and a movie, etc. And where the relationship goes from there is up to the two of you. However, there are some specifics of dating in China that you should be aware of.

First, even on the first date, you may be asked personal questions. This is quite a common practice in China, and you shouldn't take them as something to be offended by. Your date may ask you about your work, salary, living situation, and even health. If you feel uncomfortable with these questions, you may simply say that you prefer not to answer them or change the topic.

Another thing some expats (especially expat men) notice about dating in China is that your relationship may get serious rather quickly. After several dates, your girlfriend may consider herself in a long-term relationship. This is why it would be in your best interest to do what you can to be honest about your intentions and manage the expectations of the person you are dating.

If you are in a relationship in China, you may also find that the family of your significant other may play a larger role in your life. Parents may often visit and stay with you for the Chinese holidays and other events.

Note that relationships between foreign men and Chinese women are far more common than the relationships between foreign women and Chinese men. Because of this, a lot of expat women in China find their dating pool to be rather limited.

Online dating in China

Just like in most countries around the world, online dating is becoming increasingly popular in China. With that, Chinese apps are usually substantially more popular than foreign ones compared to foreign ones. According to Statista, in 2021, China's most popular dating apps were Momo, Tantan, iAround, Zhiya and Soul. The apps are not particularly difficult to navigate. However, if you don't read Chinese, things can get a bit complicated. You can still access apps like Tinder in China, but you will need to use a VPN.

Dating online is generally safe in China. However, you should always exercise due caution so as not to fall victim to catfishing and other schemes.

Meeting new people in China

As we've mentioned above, meeting people online may be the easiest way to dip your toes into China's dating world.

Offline, you can meet people in all the "regular" places, such as the workplace, gym, bars and clubs, interest groups, and more.

Good to know:

Note that if you live in a smaller town in China, people may be very eager to meet you because you are a foreigner. Sometimes, this may or may not be related to romantic attraction.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.