Bachelors and bachelorettes get ready for another round of speed dating, part of a major matchmaking event that was held in Shanghai on Nov 12-13. The sheer number of people still looking for love in China is providing many business opportunities. EUGENE HOSHIKO / AP
SHANGHAI - In the eyes of many Chinese women, finding love has become a mission impossible. Liang Yali has made it her mission to prove them wrong.
This self-styled life coach says she can help any single woman find her perfect husband in just 90 days - for a price.
"We`re not a matchmaking service, we`re pioneers," said the 41-year-old founder of Yali Marriage Quotient, which is run from an exclusive club in Shanghai`s Pudong New Area. "We`re more like an educational institute. We offer classes that help women understand themselves better, and build their confidence so they are more outgoing.
"Good things, including marriage, will happen once they start coming out," she said, adding that 60 percent of her students last year have already "graduated" by tying the knot with Mr Right.
The premium package, which consists of four two-day classes and tailored coaching, costs 11,800 yuan ($1,900). However, the company also offers other courses that range from two hours to three days, with the cheapest at 4,800 yuan.
"That`s very little to pay to improve your life - to meet your soul mate and start a family," said Kenneth Davis, 52, the company`s executive director and Liang`s husband.
Yali Marriage Quotient`s promotion at a matchmaking event in Shanghai this month proved extremely popular among the 10,000 or so people in attendance, with hundreds signing up to get more details.
That demand may be explained by the sixth national census, which found the number of unmarried women in Shanghai has outpaced that of unmarried men over the past decade. As of last year, shengnu, or leftover women, accounted for almost 20 percent of the city`s female population, an increase of 2.2 percentage points on 2000.
Liang, who has an 18-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, met American Davis in 2006. Three years later they started Yali Marriage Quotient, which also offers corporate training, such as coaching managers on how to retain employees.
Dong Ning, who handles general inquiries for the company, said the special love lessons are highly customized.
"First, Liang usually interviews her students, so she can understand what they are like and learn about their previous relationships," she said. "Students are told to attend classes at different frequencies, depending on their level. We also track their progress once they have finished the course."
As well as instruction on how to boost confidence, lessons also touch on dealing with a family crisis, keeping the in-laws happy and providing a healthy environment for children.
Former student Tina Xu, 26, says she reunited with her ex-boyfriend shortly after taking the class.
"I grew up in a single-parent family and that affected my views on marriage," said Xu, who works in the training business. "The class changed my attitude, and now I`m taking the initiative. Before, my boyfriend had been hesitating between choosing me or his family."
Liang said that the average time for "graduation" is about 90 days, counting from when students start the classes to when they walk down the aisle. She offers a 100-percent refund if clients are unhappy.
Notably, many of the former students who have gone on to wed are now married to foreign men, including Americans, French and Germans.
Liang explained this has something to do with the type of women she helps. Although ages have ranged from 28 to 55, she said most clients are office workers or entrepreneurs in their 30s or 40s, who very often struggle to find partners.
"These women think they stand a better chance of finding love with a foreigner, so our courses include an introduction to Western cultures," said the life coach.