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Marriage matchmaking has always been an important cultural practice in China.For generations, marriage was arranged by parents who followed the principle of “matching doors and windows,” which meant that people needed to marry those of similar social and economic standing.Strategies dating shows adopted included hiring polished hosts, borrowing set designs and show formats from Western reality shows, and incorporating technology to better interact with audience members and TV viewers at home.
For example, in 1970, only 1.8 percent of couples lived together before marriage.
More than ever before, networks needed to produce entertaining shows that attracted audiences.
It was during this period that dating shows started to transform, depicting live, on-air matchmaking and dates between single males females.
For single people, they’re a platform for seeking potential spouses; for fans, they’re the subject of gossip and dissection; for the cultural elites, they’re a topic for derision; and for the government, they’re a target for surveillance.
Compared with Western cultures, China has traditionally had a vastly different value system towards marriages and family.