“Most of my single girl friends are all panicking about finding their other half now because men have a tendency to favor younger girls,” she explains. “Asian men seem to be attracted to girls around 25 rather than girls over 30, so if we don't find the right man soon, our chances of meeting a future partner will get slimmer.”*1
50 years ago, Hong Kong’s gender ratio was relatively level, but in the past decade, a steady flow of female migrants from the Philippines and Indonesia, seeking work as domestic helpers, have arrived in the territory, and there are now 300,000 of these women registered in Hong Kong.
“Hong Kong women are highly qualified and independent, but the marriage norm of men marrying down and women marrying up has remained largely intact. […] The increase in regional economic integration has resulted in a large number of Hong Kong men working in South China so they actually have far more opportunities to meet mainland women than ever before.”
Dr. Choi also feels that women expect far more from marriages than in the past when the need for financial security was often a defining factor.
“Previously women mainly looked for qualities such as work ethic and ability to support the family in a future husband, while the personality of a future wife was key for men,” she says. “But in contemporary Hong Kong society, there’s an expectation for marriages to be based on love and romance. So if the man’s merely hard working, that may not be enough. He also needs to be romantic and the couple needs to have chemistry.”
But while Hong Kong women are not necessarily prepared to “lower their standards,” they are willing to go to greater lengths than ever before to meet their dream partner.
The numbers of women seeking professional dating advice have risen rapidly over the past decade, and there are now almost 50 practicing plastic surgeons in the city.
Dr. Choi believes that unless social traditions change over the next two decades and Hong Kong women become more prepared to accept men with the same or less earning power, the city will face profound social problems.
“As things stand, if the marriage norm does not change, the gender skew will deteriorate further,” she says. “The implications would be decreased fertility rates due to the number of women who either never marry or delay for a long time, and increased hostility towards mainland wives of Hong Kong men.”