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Starting early in hunt for perfect partner

July 6, 2011 - Elmer W. Cagape

In a fast-moving perpetually busy Hong Kong lifestyle, dating agencies thrive to help career-driven professionals find love. Or at least new people to meet and interact with. Such practice may be widespread in the West and Hong Kong is just playing catch up – but it’s catching up quite quickly. In fact, many of these agencies claim their client base has grown younger. Not only do these young professionals wish to connect with potential partners as soon as possible, the greater demands at work may have prompted them to start searching earlier.

No wonder dating agencies such as Violet Lim’s Lunch Actually are getting requests for assistance from a growing number of people. The agency, which started in 2004 in Singapore, and expanded to Hong Kong four years later, aims to pair like-minded professionals during quick lunches in Central, Causeway Bay or Wan Chai – hence the term ‘speed-dating’. Lim claims to have 1,500 members in Hong Kong, 60 per cent of whom are females and the average age of their clients is dropping.

Traditional culture may be averse to the idea of going on blind dates but career priorities have prompted young executives to give it a shot. And although the service is geared into finding suitable partners, speed-dating is also another platform to expand circle of friends or career networks, in the same manner recruitment agents try to match employers and candidates.

Hongkongers are more frank and pragmatic on date outcomes. Unlike singles in Malaysia who are quite open to another round of getting-to-know lunch or dinners to buy time in making a verdict, Hong Kong participants are quick to decide if a further meeting is necessary. If they feel the chemistry is not there, often they will pursue other options, according to Lim. However, Hong Kong women are more open-minded than their contemporaries in Malaysia or Singapore when it comes to dating someone younger, less educated orless affluent. With Hong Kong’s eclectic mix of multinationals, dating newcomers from Hong Kong could learn faster from others who are used to such methods of meeting new people.

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