September 10, 2014 08:38
Community weeklies published in parts of Seoul with a large Korean-Chinese population always have big sections of adverts seeking a spouse. There are about 10 local weeklies for the Korean-Chinese community here, and most run on profits from advertising and are distributed free.
They carry news, immigration information and legal advice, and run classified listings for rentals and jobs as well as Lonely Hearts.
A biweekly called the Dongposeqye Sinmun, which is based in Garibong-dong, Guro, allocates a whole separate page to the marriage ads, with over 30 listings including personal details like education, height, and mobile number. It prints 10,000 copies each time, and is distributed in the nearby districts of Guro, Gwangjin, and Yeongdeungpo as well as Ansan, Gyeonggi Province, where there is a Korean-Chinese enclave.
Kim Yong-pil at the paper said, "There are many lonely men and women who left home to work abroad. Many meet someone through these adverts and some end up getting married. Over a dozen people reply to the ads every month."
The reason Korean Chinese rely on ads is that there are few matchmaking companies in Korea that target this population. Few Korean Chinese can afford the sign-up fee, which can exceed W1 million (US$1=W1,013).
A staffer with one Korean-Chinese weekly said, "Most matchmaking companies in these Korean-Chinese areas closed down two or three years ago because it just wasn't profitable. Korean-Chinese people who feel they have exhausted their personal connections are turning to these local community newspapers."
It costs W60,000 to run a classified ad for a month, but most people pay W200,000 to 300,000 for six months. Customers are mostly middle-aged men who have little time to meet women as they work day and night on construction sites. In the past, it was not unusual to see ads posted by women, but the number dwindled because they prompted too many nuisance calls.
Choi Hwang-gyu, a pastor in a Korean-Chinese community, said, "Young Korean Chinese form their own online or mobile communities to meet new people, but most men in their 40s and over who are not used to the new technologies can only depend on classified ads."
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