I tell them it’s because I have standards that I’m not willing to lower.’ Touching an expensive-looking bangle on her wrist, she goes on, 'I think my parents understand a bit more – they just want me to be happy – but my aunties always say things like, “Oh, do you remember that girl you went to school with? ” It's very frustrating.’ Wu Manling, 30 and a magazine editor, agrees.
Taking matters into her own hands, she set up the matchmaking site Jiayuan ('Beautiful Destiny’) to help women like her, and within three months had met her husband via the site.
With more than 58 million registered users, the site has given her a clear picture of what constitutes 'the ideal woman’ in the eyes of a Chinese male.
Her research suggests that it’s the constant pestering from families that is causing successful women in their late twenties to make major sacrifices.
'At that point in their lives a lot of women who are highly educated, attractive and successful will start to really worry about getting married.
I’ve met women who actually quit their jobs because they thought they’d find it easier to attract a husband, which is very frightening. There are many countries where men don’t like strong women,’ she points out, 'but Chinese men particularly so.
Those who didn’t give up work entirely were turning down promotions.’ The author and social commentator Zhang Lijia knows exactly what she thinks about the term . If a Chinese man is successful he will be looking for a woman who is young and beautiful, not someone who is well educated.’ She pauses before laughing heartily.
'Chinese men think educated women aren’t as easy to control! Internet chatter about came to a head last March when a young woman called Long Si Yu and 15 of her friends posted an online music video admonishing men for not having their own house or car.
There are currently 118 men to every 100 women in China – that’s an excess of more than 30 million.
'The key things women search for on our site are a man’s height, salary and whether or not he owns a car or a house.
Certainly, if women’s requirements were lower we would have a higher match-success rate.
China’s 'leftover women’ are considered on the shelf if they're still single at 28 In case you hadn’t noticed, Chinese women have become quite a force to be reckoned with in recent years.