Annie Yin only moved to Canada in 2006 and already she’s made leaps and bounds for herself and her Chinese community.
Yin is the founder and owner of a Chinese dating website, qingtianlove.com, aimed primarily at Chinese immigrants who are looking to settle down with someone else from their community.
“I have a lot of friends in China and I had no friends here – through making this website I could make friends here as well,” says Yin.
She also runs a weekly event every Saturday and Sunday at a community centre on Melford Drive for all of the members of her website.
Yin says around 40 to 80 members show up each day of the weekend to mingle, socialize, and of course practice their table tennis and mahjong skills.
“We have people coming from Mississauga, Etobicoke, Pickering, Waterloo,” says Yin, who adds the success rate of this event as well as her website has been quite high.
There are at least five couples who have gotten married through meeting on qingtianlove.com and at least 30 couples are either dating or are in serious relationships. A dead giveaway is when they close their online accounts, says Yin.
“Dating is not the same concept in our Chinese culture as in your culture,” she says. “In our culture people are very serious and most of them want to settle down, have a stable relationship and finally they would like to get married.”
Yin feels the dating standards of the Chinese immigrants are more traditional in comparison to dating here in Canada where people are not as serious about rushing into marriage before they have a chance to date around.
Jack Zhang, also a member of the website and started coming to the weekend events since last December, also believes this kind of dating scene is more appropriate for the Chinese immigrants versus going out to clubs or bars in hopes of meeting someone.
“The Chinese people who immigrate here are older because they have to finish their degree in China and then apply for immigration,” Zhang says. “So when they are here most of them are over 30 and are looking for a more serious relationship.”
Zhang says the Chinese newcomers feel comfortable here because ping pong and mahjong are strong cultural activities and remind them of back home.
“Most of the guys here would like to find a person from the same cultural and they feel safe and comfortable to talk with each other in this atmosphere,” Yin says, agreeably.
Zhang says that he has made a lot of friends here but hasn’t found anyone special yet. When asked whether he would continue coming here even after he is in a relationship, Zhang says that he would definitely like to.
Annie Yin continues to run her own business and participate in the weekly ping pong and mahjong games she has organized for her website members.
Joining the website or attending these events is not restricted to Chinese community members and anyone can find more information on qingtianlove.com.