A student in Jinan putting his dating tips to use trying to get a girl to add him to her WeChat contacts. /CGTN Digital
A tale of two cities. Young men in China are now faced with the harsh reality that their likelihood of remaining single could be inevitable.
According to government reports, there are currently about 33.6 million more men than women in China looking for love, many of whom are sparing no expense trying to find "Mrs. Right."
This dilemma is forcing single men all across China to ramp up their dating skills to stand out from the crowd.
"By reading some articles and books online about pickup artists, it helped me solve my own problems," Zhang Mindong, the founder of "Fall in Love Emotional Education" school, told CGTN Digital when we visited him in the eastern Chinese city of Jinan. "I realized I can help more people by telling them what I learned. Gradually, I got more students."
He said he started the school after going through a painful breakup in 2015.
Business is booming for Zhang and others all across the country as young men are taking matters into their own hands trying to find love.
Learn a lesson
"I want to find a girlfriend, but I've always lacked the confidence to talk to girls," Sun Wenxuan told CGTN Digital. "I want to learn more techniques for how to understand and talk to girls as well as how to deal with relationships."
Single guys like Sun are flocking to the school, where they are being taught how to groom themselves, approach women, and finesse their way into a woman's mobile contacts.
"They're from all parts of China. Most of them come to us wanting to find a girlfriend. But they all have some problems," Zhang said. "They all bring their problems to us."
There are currently around 10,000 students enrolled in Zhang's classes online and offline, but Jinan is not the only city in China where young men are lining up to learn about love.
A tale of two cities
In Beijing, scores of single men are enrolling in one of the capital city's many dating schools.
"I started to share my experience and thoughts with small groups online. Gradually, the business became bigger and bigger," Cui Yi, a Beijing-based dating coach who goes by the name of Moka, told CGTN Digital.
The Shenzhen native said that over the years, he has helped nearly 9,000 students online and offline find love, with about 20 percent of them getting married.
"I came because my girlfriend wanted to break up," Chengdu resident Wang Hong told CGTN Digital. "I didn't get her back, but Moka made me realize what I did wrong in our relationship and I learned more about myself."
Wang said he traveled more than 1,800 kilometers from China's southwestern Sichuan Province to participate in the Beijing workshop.
Even the Chinese government is working to address the dating dilemma single men are facing.
Last summer, the Communist Youth League, a part of the Communist Party of China, played matchmaker by hosting a mass speed dating event in eastern China's Zhejiang Province.
"We live in an era where we don't interact with others that much. We spend most of our time on the internet," Cui said. "We've become more and more isolated and don't even know how to interact with others or be in a relationship."