Why people find it hard to love and live in China and Hong Kong
Finding affordable housing, employment and partners are the biggest challenges for young people on the mainland and in the former British colony
The biggest problems facing people living in Hong Kong and China are finding a job, someone to marry and a place to call home. In Beijing, it is difficult to find a husband or wife. In Guangzhou, it is hard to get a government job. In Shenzhen and Hong Kong, it is not easy to buy a home.
One Beijing matchmaker, who has successfully found partners for 800 people, said one of her biggest failures was to find a wife for a man who had been her client for 36 years.
Marriage-maker Zhu Fang told the Beijing Youth Daily that the man first registered with her when he was 29 and asked for a young, beautiful lady who knew how to write poetry, a criteria he never changed in later years.
“He could not find one at age 30 and it was rather difficult to find one for him at age 60,” said Zhu. “In the end, he gave up at 65.”
While finding good partners has proved difficult, finding jobs has been equally as tough. Last weekend, more than 85,000 people in Guangzhou applied to sit for civil servant examinations.
The Guangdong government had 722 positions available, which meant 118 applicants were fighting for each job. The job market in China is challenging this year as a record 8.2 million graduates are ready to enter the workforce.
For those lucky enough to find a job, the next challenge is finding an apartment to live in. In Shenzhen, China’s equivalent of Silicon Valley where Huawei Technologies, Tencent Holdings and Foxconn are based, home rental prices have surged to record highs.
To increase the supply of homes, the Shenzhen government has offered incentives to farmers to put apartments on their properties for half the present rental price.
In Hong Kong, record high home prices and an acute supply shortage put young people in an awkward situation where they find it hard to get a job paying enough to cover the cost of housing, let alone marriage.
When Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing recently announced his retirement, he was asked how to deal with the “no home, no marriage” situation.
Admitting it was almost Hong Kong’s culture to own property before getting married, Li said people should not focus too much on buying a flat because getting married without owning a home was quite normal.
Li jokingly told the media: “If I were the man (who was asked to own an apartment before getting married), I would tell the lady, ‘Why don’t you pick another one when you are still young?’”