China's online dating market is expected to reach 653 million yuan (about 81 million U.S. dollars ) by 2008, with an annual growth rate of 60 percent, according to a recent iResearch report.
The report values the online dating market at 37 million yuan (some 4.5 million dollars) for 2004 and 91 million yuan (11.2 million dollars) for 2005 and predicts it will grow to 653 million yuan, 4.8 percent of the entire dating market in China.
In comparison, the US market was 520 million dollars for 2005, and the European market was 110 million dollars, both expanding at double-digit rates, the report said.
The report was released at an international friends-making forum held in Beijing last week. Participants held that online dating will become a more important channel for bachelors to seek spouses as there are more men than women in China's 1.3-billion population.
Baihe, which claims to be China's largest online dating site, received 11 million dollars of investment after attracting more than 5 million users in 2005.
But for those people to seek their true soulmates, Baihe's CEO Tian Fanjiang said that those who want to get friends online must discard the ideas of "one-night stands" or "affairs" and try to build up a loyal atmosphere.
IResearch Consulting Group is the first professional Internet market research company in China.