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Money-saving Chinese couples mark Singles' Day with solitude (2)


14:02, November 10, 2012

"There're also roommates in my apartment, so my wife and I can only spend the night together in hotels, and we choose only cheap ones that charge about 200 yuan a night," Chen said.

Chen's plight is common in big cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, where high living costs and house prices have prevented many young couples from living together.

Boasting colorful cultural life and more better-paying jobs, such cities have become paradise for young Chinese hailing from far-flung cities and the destitute countryside. But sustaining a life in such glitzy cities means a cut-back must be made in their conjugal bliss.

Wang Xiaoling, an office worker in downtown Beijing, got married four years ago and is now the father of a 3-year-old girl. Both his wife and daughter stay in Harbin, capital city of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, due to high living costs in Beijing.

"My annual salary is about 80,000 yuan, far from enough to provide a comfortable life for the whole family here, and it's too risky for my wife to quit her job and come here," Wang said.

Long distance also makes it harder for them to get together. Wang said they can only meet once a month, and it costs them more than 10,000 yuan on transportation every year.

"At least we can say our constant travels contributes a lot to our country's GDP growth," Wang said.

Experts said staggering house prices, high living expenses and mounting work pressure have undermined urban marriages in China, forcing more couples to live apart over financial concerns.

"These couples report a higher divorce rate, as their emotional and physiological needs often go unsatisfied," said Zhao Yongjiu at a Beijing-based company that provides consultations on marriage and relationships.

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