updated 17 Aug 2013, 11:37
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Sat, Aug 17, 2013
China Daily/Asia News Network
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Search for Mr Rich goes awry

Chinese women on the hunt for a rich husband have been warned to be wary of online fraudsters posing as high-class matchmakers or suitors.

The alert comes after authorities launched an investigation into a company that promises to help single women meet successful businessmen, but which is now facing allegations of "crooked promotion".

A candidate shows off her domestic skills at a matchmaking event for women searching a wealthy husband. Zheng Tao / for China Daily

Guangzhou 520 Info Technology entered the high-end matchmaking market last year with the China Entrepreneur Club for Singles, and it claims 60,000 women have already signed up for this year's activities.

According to the company, it pledges to introduce about 60 selected women to meet with 50 rich men running businesses worth more than 100 million yuan (S$20 million) in the Maldives.

However, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce said last week that China Entrepreneur Club for Singles is not registered with any administrative department in Guangdong province and has no operation license.

The city authority has taken measures against the company and informed other departments to cooperate to negate the social impact resulting from the "crooked promotion", the State administration said, without disclosing further details.

Li Zhuo, marketing director for China Entrepreneur Club for Singles, insisted Guangzhou 520 Info Technology has registered with the city industry and commerce body, and that CECS, one of the company's brands, has registered with the copyright office.

However, Li conceded that the company "is still in the early stage of its business and may not be considerate in many aspects" and vowed to cooperate with authorities to rectify the problems.

While thousands of women are drawn by the high-end matchmaking activities to look for a rich Mr Right, others have fallen victim to swindlers, who pretend to be rich on matchmaking websites.

Police in Shanghai's Baoshan county uncovered a series of frauds in which a suspect identified as Li cheated more than 30 women out of about 1 million yuan over a period of a year by pretending to be rich on matchmaking websites and then asking for gifts for his new business.

"Many women want to get what they want by finding a rich husband, which can save them 20 years of struggle," said Yu Hai, a sociology professor at Fudan University in Shanghai. He added that this makes high-end matchmaking popular and also offers chances for those swindlers.

Zhou Xiaopeng, an expert at Baihe, a popular matchmaking website, said: "Parents and schools haven't taught girls how to date and fall in love. When it's time for them to date and fall in love, however, they just find themselves surrounded by money."

Searching for a rich Mr Right has been no stranger to the society and we still have several ways to distinguish the cheaters, Zhou said.

"For the high-end matchmaking, usually you cannot see the rich, only their subordinates because they are too busy," Zhou said. "And it usually charges ladies no money or only a small amount of money. If they charge you a lot, the organizers are highly likely to be swindlers."

Frauds usually will not give you any access to their circle of friends and will ask to borrow a large sum of money after three months' dating, Zhou said.

"They may borrow some money from you and then return it to you, only to gain your trust as preparation for borrowing a large sum of money," he added.

Zhou said those who try their best to please the ladies and show off their wealth in an excessive way are also highly likely to be frauds.

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