CHINA - An increasing number of young people are choosing to have plastic surgery to improve their appearances and start new lives.
The cosmetic surgery centers in South Korea are bustling with Chinese patients, especially during summer and winter holidays.
Figures from one of the centers in South Korea show that in 2012 some 25 per cent of its Chinese customers were college students. They travelled to South Korea to go under the knife, aiming to improve their self-confidence and secure better job offers.
Among these patients, surgery on the eyes and nose was the most popular, while an operation to reshape the face, including reconfiguring the jawbone and liposuction, was also popular, the statistics show.
Zou Jiahong, 22, a college student in Qingdao, Shandong province, is one of about 7 million Chinese college students who will graduate next year. "I have attended dozens of interviews before. Although they may not say it openly, employers will tend to pick the prettier applicant," she said.
With the support of her parents, Zou, flew to South Korea for plastic surgery on her jawbone and eyelids a month ago.
The surgery was successful and pleasing to Zou, who is tall and slim.
"Even my father said I am changing from an ugly duckling into a pretty swan. I believe even a slight difference in appearance may have a direct influence on my chances of getting better opportunities," she said.
Appearance matters, but one expert voiced concern. "Job-hunting is not a beauty contest. Talent and working ability still remain the most important factors," said Wang Kaiyu, a sociology researcher with Anhui Academy of Social Sciences.