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Fewer Chinese marrying foreigners

Posted: 02/13/2014 2:46 pm

It’s a tired cliché: the poor laowai who arrives in China and ends up marrying a Chinese woman, who likely wrongly concluded the laowai had money just because he’s, well, a laowai. Perhaps Chinese girls are catching on though, because there has been a rather steep decline in the number of Chinese-foreign marriages in China in recent years.

There were 79,000 Chinese-foreign marriages at their peak in 2001, which declined to only 49,000 marriages in 2010. It should be noted this is a mere drop in the bucket compared to the eight million marriages registered in China each year. Nonetheless it does show a trend.

The China Policy Institute says the most common type of Chinese-foreign marriage is between a woman from Mainland China and a man from Hong Kong:

Marriages between PRC citizens and foreign nationals comprise the second largest category of Chinese-foreign marriages registered in mainland China between 1979 and 2010. Around 300 foreign nationals registered such a marriage in 1979. That figure rose to a peak of over 26,000 people in 2001 and declined to nearly 23,000 in 2010. There is no reliable information available regarding the countries of origin of these foreign nationals. However, media reports suggest that foreign spouses come from around the globe.

The reasons for the decline are subject to speculation, but the slowing economy, crackdown on foreigners without proper work permits, and general trend of foreigners leaving China may hold some of the clues. Or, more likely, the tastes of Chinese women may be changing.


  • Everyday sexism (and racism)

    “the poor laowai who arrives in China and ends up marrying a Chinese woman, who likely wrongly concluded the laowai had money”

    Because women only ever marry for money, rather than, you know, being a human being who can form a loving relationship with another human being?

    • terroir

      If only the author of such hate speech can redeem himself by clarifying such a quote in context.

      Nope. It’s too late, And off I flit to the next sensational comment.


    I am a milk drinker…and would never consider buying a cow…too much hassle

  • Tim

    The general trend of foreigners leaving China?

    The number of foreign workers in China has increased in the past 5 years not decreased:

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  • LaoShu

    When I arrived 10 years again China, Chinese women seemed to be sweet and innocent.. maybe I would have considered then.. Now, never.. they are all about money! still, it’s nice to spoil (not financially..) one once in a while..

  • Zen my Ass

    It would be worth knowing how many Chinese are marring with non Chinese overseas. The numbers of travelers and expats between Chinese are increased so maybe the decreasing marriage rate in China is only pointing at an increasing numbers of Chinese moving out and staying abroad, am I correct?

  • Eorthisio

    Another reason might be the fact that more and more foreigners realize that local Chinese women are for the most part gold diggers, greedy beyond acceptable, much more superficial than other Asian women (at least that’s my experience) and choose instead to marry girls who grew up in less “money driven” societies. Many foreigners also probably does not accept the idea that they must buy an house and a car to get married. More foreigners are also in China for a short period and have no intention to stay here for more than 1 or 2 years.

  • 21tigermike

    Racist parents, whaddya gonna do? LOL 中国欢迎你

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