There are far more women on Zhu’s books now, but he says they have high standards.
“They have three ‘highs’: they’re highly educated, have high salaries, and they are tall,” Zhu explains, adding they won’t settle for anyone they deem unworthy.
“Single women say, I’d rather have no boyfriend than have someone who’s not good enough,” he adds.
“But no one is perfect,” Zhu says. “If you don’t have the right attitude, you’ll never find someone.”
There’s also a growing trend for intimacy on-demand, with some people opting for virtual boyfriends and girlfriends, so they can still have companionship without the pressures and commitments of real life dating.
And while China does not allow single women to use sperm donors, a growing number of affluent older women are opting to find foreign sperm donors so they can start a family in their own time, and on their own terms.
Sandy To, a sociologist at the University of Hong Kong, said China’s one-child policy — which was in force from 1979 to 2016 and limited the size of most families — has created “a generation of self-confident and resourceful women.”
Dating apps and online agencies like Momo and Baihe have also taken off in China but Zhu believes his way is better.
“No matter how good the internet becomes, I still don’t trust it,” he says.
And his matchmaking club continues to attract clients hungry for face to face connection — of all ages.
One woman, a septuagenarian, calls frequently to complain he has not found a partner for her yet.
Joyce Gao, a finance professional in her early thirties and one of Zhu’s clients, said she hopes to find an “energetic” man with “strong work ethic”.
At a recent group dating event organized by Zhu, she was the only single who had come on her own, without her parents. Gao says she still prefers Zhu’s old-fashioned meetups to online dating.
She says: “Offline, things are more real, and you can feel what someone is like.”