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Private marriage agencies to debut
( 2003-08-12 09:04) (eastday.com)

Competition among Shanhai cupids is likely to be more fierce with the first batch of private matchmaking agencies set to debut.

Thirteen private agencies got licenses from the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau recently and will soon go into business, officials said yesterday.

It is in line with a new regulation issued at the end of last year, stipulating that people in Shanghai who have received professional training and hold a matchmaker's certifi-cate issued by the bureau can apply to open such an agency, provided it has a registered capital of at least 100,000 yuan (US$12,048) as well as an office area covering a mini-mum of 50 square meters, officials said.

Earlier, individuals could only register companies with the Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau, offering wedding ceremony services.

Currently, Shanghai has 60 licensed matchmaking agencies, most organized by trade unions and neighbor-hood committees.

But the city's large match-making market has been a magnet for many, including illegal agencies which cheat customers. However, rivals are not happy with the arrival of private matchmakers.

"Since customers are limited, more agencies will add to the market disorder," said Yu Jian, an agent.

But Wang Weiming of the Shanghai Matchmaking Agency Association disag-reed, saying, "If the government can control them, the agencies will help extract the market's potential."

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