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“Men have a much higher success rate [in finding love] and a much broader selection, since they can choose someone from a lower social group,” said Chen, whose family controls a Chengdu property and hotel empire.

“For women, it is almost impossible to choose downwards — their family and friends would not approve and they would face many difficulties.” Mr Du’s hunt for eligible bachelors, a collaboration with Hong Kong-based dating agency Feng Qiu Huang, began on June 18 when he began taking online applications from across China and the world.

So far around 1,500 men have signed up, including one Australian and several applicants from the US and Canada.

UK-based graduates of “famous [British] universities” had also applied, he said.

Phase two of the search will begin on July 20 when organisers start sifting through CVs and vetting the would-be husbands in a series of face-to-face meetings with relationship specialists and fortune-tellers in hotels around China.

A shortlist of 100 men will be invited on an all-expenses-paid trip to Chengdu on August 23, China’s Valentines’ Day, for dinner dates with the 36 women, all aged between 28 and 49.

“Mahjong is a very popular form of entertainment in Sichuan and Chengdu.

"The best way to find your perfect match is to meet love halfway." - Author unknown.

“He should have some economic strength, at least 10 million yuan in assets, since all my friends have that much money or more and the personal wealth is a reflection of integrated capability.

He needs to have good morals and healthy lifestyle.” Applicants should also be prepared to relocate to Chengdu, a rapidly growing city around 1,240 miles west of Shanghai, famed for its pandas, fiery cuisine and aviation and car manufacturing industries.

Last month the People’s Daily newspaper warned that “social harmony and stability” could be threatened if millions of rural men were unable to find partners.

But China’s super-rich women are facing problems of their own, said Mr Du, not least finding time to scout for would-be husbands.

ONLINE DATING or Internet dating is a dating system which allows individuals, couples and groups to make contact and communicate with each other over the Internet, usually with the objective of developing a personal romantic or sexual relationship.

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