A young Shanghai man has come up with a novel idea to help single people seeking romance link up with like-minded members of the opposite sex.
Wang Zixian, a 28-year-old project manager with a local joint venture, posted messages in the chatrooms of two local Websites suggesting people wear a symbol with the message: "I am single and available for a date."
One of the Websites, www.52marry.cn, invited Wang to a brainstorming session and the idea took off. The result was 1,200 young single people in the city wearing a silk wristband with the letter "M."
"We chose 'M' because the letter is common in the three words - man, woman and marry -and represents the single person's wish to meet Mr or Miss Right," Wang said.
The Website company funded production of the handmade wristbands - suitable for both sexes-and 1,200 were handed out free in late May at three busy downtown spots.
A second batch will be distributed free outside the Parkson shopping mall on Huaihai Road on August 30, the Chinese Valentine's Day.
The bands are handmade by a group of senior women from Guizhou Province who live in Shanghai. Wang said he hit on the idea because he was so busy at work he hardly had time for dating.
"We all meet those occasions in the street or on the Metro when you find a girl particularly charming or of your kind, but the idea she might not be single or her boyfriend could be around always stops you actually starting to chat," Wang said.
Gan Qiming, general manager of www.52marry.cn, said an estimated 1 million single people, mostly well educated, live in Shanghai and Beijing.
Wang said he had received nearly 1,000 requests for a band by e-mail or through the online chatrooms.
But his own luck hasn't changed: after wearing his wristband for two months he is still single.
"My wish is to find my Miss Right soon," said Wang, whose name actually means Prince Smart in Chinese.
A 23-year-old single man, Zhang Jie, and a 25-year-old single woman, Summer Zhao, said they were unlikely to try the wristband.
Both said approaching a stranger in public took courage.
"You still would not go and talk to a woman wearing a single bracelet if you are just too shy to do so," said Zhang.