The matchmaker does a lot more than just introduce people, she – and it’s always a woman as apparently both men and women feel more comfortable discussing their romantic life with a woman – is also responsible for “managing expectations”, solving misunderstandings and serving as a middle person to ask embarrassing questions.
For example, if a woman is interested in a man, but doesn’t want to appear to come on too strong by asking serious questions about the future, she gets her matchmaker to do it.
“A lot of people are saying leftover women can’t find a man, but mostly it’s because she sets very high standards; she doesn’t want to compromise,” says Li.
The matchmaking service claims a success rate of 78 per cent – this is based on the number of couples who tell their matchmaker they want to be “exclusive” with their date, meaning that their profile is hidden on the site.
, while last year it got a lot of coverage following the cosmetic firm SK-II’s emotional advert on the subject, which went viral. He points to what he calls the “80/20 principle” in the animal kingdom, where 20 per cent of the male species “owns” 80 per cent of the females, leaving 80 per cent of males mateless.
“My view is that it’s the natural order of things to have leftover men, but you become a leftover woman by choice.
“The higher the earning power of the man, the more likely he would [be to] ask to date a younger woman,” Li says.
The matchmakers get a minimal base salary and earn commission for every match, so it’s in their interest to make good matches and smooth out any dating hiccups.
After years working as a senior investment banker in the US and Hong Kong, he fulfilled his dream of setting up his own business.
First came Me Me Star, a short message-based chat forum that he sold to the Chinese telecom firm Sina.
It’s a self-imposed criteria – she can always find a mate,” Li says.
He says that the better educated a woman is, and the more economically well off, the higher the standards she will set.