E-dating Chinese-American style

Updated: 2014-02-14 11:25

By Yu Wei in San Francisco (China Daily USA)

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 E-dating Chinese-American style

Online dating service website 2RedBeans has been popular among Chinese students in the US. Provided to China Daily

With Valentine's Day two days away, Li, who works for a high-tech company in Silicon Valley, is looking forward to the holiday with excitement and anticipation.

Thanks to the service provided by 2RedBeans, an online dating service focused on matching Chinese Americans, Li has finally fallen in love after being single for the longest time.

"I met her 6 months ago through 2RedBeans and I felt a growing chemistry through our conversations," Li said. "I was already in love with her before I even set eyes on her."

"I was skeptical at first about using a dating website to find love," Li said, who had no experience with online dating previously. "I'm so glad I gave it a try."

Now, after officially being together for three months, Li said he is confident about this relationship.

More and more relationships are beginning digitally.

Even Zhao Qinghua, the founder of 2RedBeans, said that she herself met her future husband on the website she established to help Chinese-American singles find love.

Zhao, who has a PhD in electrical engineering from the University of California-San Diego, started her entrepreneurial endeavor after working at Broadcom as a software engineer.

"Like many entrepreneurs, I started 2RedBeans with my friends to solve our own problems, finding dates that could lead to a life partner," Zhao said.

Zhao said it was so difficult to meet other people with similar cultural backgrounds and values.

"Since popular US dating sites like Match.com and eHarmony are not focused on matching Chinese Americans, it is often hard for us to find people who have the same cultural values," Zhao said.

In contrast, 2RedBeans' matching algorithm focused on characteristics that are more relevant to the Chinese, such as arrival date in the US and signs of the Zodiac.

Zhao and her team also decided to make the site very interactive to encourage people to communicate with each other early on.

"Chinese by nature are very shy, which decreases their opportunities to meet other people," she explained. "We try our best to increase the interaction and in turn to increase their chances of finding someone."

Over the past three years, the website has hosted more than 200 offline dating activities across North America. For the coming Valentine's Day, it will hold singles parties in cities like Washington DC, New York, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Vancouver.

A partner with China's popular dating show Fei Cheng Wu Rao 2012 North America special episode, 2RedBeans is now the co-organizer of the 2014 US edition of One out of a Hundred, another popular Chinese matchmaking show hosted by Shanghai Dragon TV.

"The US Edition of the show One out of a Hundred is intended to not just be a dating show, but also a window for people in China to have a peek into the lives of people in the US, their value systems, their criteria for a mate, and their life styles," Zhao explained.

"In a short span of only 10 days, we've already had more than 290 applicants to the show, including actresses, engineers, professors, real estate agents, many amazing singles," she added.

As the largest Chinese dating site in North America, 2RedBeans has more than 200,000 registered users. Zhao expects that 2RedBeans will grow and saturate the US and Canadian market in 2014, adding it will then be expanding to other countries where there are many Chinese immigrants.

"We are pushing out our mobile apps so that singles can get access to other singles on the go. We are also working on something that can bring singles offline to meet each other quickly," she said.

As for the total number of 2RedBeans matched people that lead to marriage, Zhao said the conservative estimate is at least one couple per day. "For matches that become girlfriend or boyfriend, I'd imagine that's a much larger number," she added.

Jin, a 38-year-old Chinese American who lives in Fremont, California, started a relationship two months ago through 2RedBeans.

After some general chitchat and the first date, Jin said things moved really fast between the two.

"I have tried Match.com and eHarmony before, however, unlike 2RedBeans, I never had a serious offline date with someone," he said. "I felt US dating sites are more casual dating oriented."

"To me, or many Chinese Americans, we start our experience with the purpose of marriage," Jin said. "2RedBeans has narrowed the dating pool based on the same background and that made it much easier for me to find the right person."


(China Daily USA 02/14/2014 page10)