Money isn’t everything: Bachelor’s dating profile stirs up hot discussion among Chinese netizens
Published: Apr 06, 2021 06:51 PM
A photo of Zhang Kunwei. Photo: Sina Weibo

A photo of Zhang Kunwei. Photo: Sina Weibo

Zhang Kunwei, a well-educated bachelor who graduated from Tsinghua University's top experimental computer science class, has recently become an internet sensation after his dating profile on Chinese networking platform Douban inspired netizens to discuss what makes a man worth marrying. 

In late March, Zhang posted an introduction on Douban detailing his personal background, such as how he finished both bachelor's and master's programs at Tsinghua University, one of China's most prestigious educational institutions. He also labeled himself as "an ordinary man" even though most of his life experiences suggest he should be considered a social elite. For example, he now earns more than 50, 000 yuan ($7,600) a month and once worked for JPMorgan and Google before finally deciding to become a teacher in his hometown in North China's Shanxi Province. 

Zhang's post quickly went viral, earning more than 400 million views on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo as of Tuesday afternoon. Netizens were not only stunned by the fact that such a successful man could still be single despite his rather "ordinary" appearance as a man "who look older for his actual age." Others noted that Zhang's "problem" also reflects how women in China are no longer considering just wealth when looking for a mate, but are also factoring in appearance and personality. 

"I hate to say this, but I've looked at his photo online and I have to say that he is not a man who can attract a woman with his vibe. While I'm not someone who puts appearance first, many of my girlfriends do. His situation is pretty normal to me, because men have been using "beautiful" and "nice figure" to describe us women for a very long time," Shanshan, a 26-year-old Beijinger, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

"I'm pleased to see more and more Chinese women are starting to focus on a man's entire spirit rather than just his wealth. Sometimes the vibe a person gives you tells you more about him than his assets and achievements do," Tang, a 32-year-old woman, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

"I am from a science major like him, and a pretty levelheaded girl, but I would prefer a guy who looks more "outgoing," who has the opposite qualities that I'm lacking, such as focus on personal grooming and who has his own style," Jing, a 27-year-old engineer in Beijing, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

While welcomed the idea that evaluating a partner based on appearance is no longer solely a male privilege in today's Chinese society, other netizens remarked that placing too much value on appearance could make people feel insecure as well as shift social opinion even more toward the idea that someone has to have "good looks on top of everything else" in order to find love.

"Neither men nor women should suffer harsh criticism about their appearances. Calling someone fat, ugly or greasy says nothing about who that person really is but it does prove the person who says those things is shallow and ignorant," wrote one netizen on Sina Weibo in response to a post that called Zhang "ugly."