More Hong Kong women marry Chinese men

More Hong Kong women marry Chinese men

Marriages between Hong Kong women and mainland men have reached an all-time high.

The percentage of Hong Kong brides tying the knot with mainlanders has risen nearly sixfold since 1991 to 13.7 per cent of marriages in 2013.

But the number of Hong Kong men marrying mainland women dropped from 36 per cent to 34 per cent during the same period.

After her parents nagged her for remaining single, Winnie Leung moved from Hong Kong to work in Beijing. She is now married with two children.

Leung, 34, had her second baby last year after marrying her mainland husband in 2011, forcing her parents to drop their insistence that she find a husband from Hong Kong.

An increasing number of women from Hong Kong are following suit.

"When my friends saw me living happily with my husband and having no major communication problems, they wanted to know more about men from the mainland," Leung said.

"Some even wanted me to introduce them to potential suitors," she added, describing her husband as a man undeterred by her professional accomplishments and an admirer of her independence.

Chung Kim-wah, a professor of applied social sciences at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, said the increasing number of Hong Kong women marrying mainlanders is the result of demographic differences and greater connectivity with the mainland.

More Hong Kong women are now better educated, with 60 per cent of State-assisted university students being female and making their mark in the workplace, he said.

"There is social and peer pressure against women marrying a man of lower education and career status," Chung said.

He also noted skewed gender imbalances, with 876 men for every 1,000 women in Hong Kong, compared with 1,178 men to every 1,000 women on the mainland.

Chung also said relations between the sexes among Hongkongers are approaching the dysfunctional levels seen in Japan, with a proliferation of "Peter Pan men", viewed by their female counterparts as being too immature or preoccupied with adolescent pursuits, and not ready for marriage.

Increased interchanges, exchanges and migration between Hong Kong and the mainland also mean that social networks are shifting north, creating opportunities for Hong Kong women to find and meet more appropriate partners, Chung said.

Hong Kong-mainland marriages made up 38 per cent of weddings registered in Hong Kong in 2013, according to the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department. Marriages between Hongkongers fell from 61.7 per cent to 52 per cent.

The increase in Hong Kong women seeking mainland husbands comes as marriages registered on the mainland to foreigners and citizens of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan have fallen.

They reached a peak of 78,700 in 2001, but dropped to 48,000 in 2011, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

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