An Inside Look At The 4 Best Chinese Dating Show Out There

An Inside Look At The 4 Best Chinese Dating Show Out There

Chinese dating shows have emerged as a dominant force in reality TV as it captivates audiences worldwide with their unique blend of entertainment and cultural insights.

Even after relocating to a foreign country, my family has managed to keep up with the latest episodes of these shows through television streaming. It has become a cherished weekly bonding activity that allows us to connect with our cultural roots while indulging in the excitement and drama of these shows.

In this article, we will dive into these shows' fascinating cultural insights to shed light on the multifaceted aspects of Chinese society and its approach to dating. At the end, I will recommend some of my personal favorite speed dating shows that are a must-watch for any enthusiast of Chinese dating reality.

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Cultural insights: How is dating culture in China?

Dating shows reflect the intricacies of society—showcasing the prevalence of Chinese dating culture and societal norms. These shows often highlight traditional values while simultaneously addressing the challenges faced by modern individuals seeking love and companionship.

Gender dynamics also play a significant role in these shows, with male contestants are often expected to possess certain qualities such as wealth, career success, and social status. While female contestants are often scrutinized for their appearance and adherence to societal beauty standards.

Family and parental involvement also play crucial roles in these dating shows. In fact, parents accompany their children to provide opinions and even participate in the decision-making process. This action reflects the importance of familial approval and parents' significant role in matchmaking in real life.

4 Must-Watch Chinese Dating Shows

1. If You Are the One (非诚勿扰)

If You Are the One—非诚勿扰

If You Are the One by Sohu

If You Are the One, an early Chinese emotional dating reality show, has won the hearts of millions of viewers with its unique format. Since 2010, this show has become arguably the most popular Chinese dating show, featuring numerous male and female guests.

In this show, a single male suitor faces a panel of 24 female guests around or of the same age who have the power to "turn off their lights" if they are not interested.

What sets If You Are the One apart is its approach to dating. While other dating shows focus solely on superficial aspects of relationships, this show encourages emotional advice and provides rational analysis to help the suitor make informed decisions.

Interestingly, this dating show also originated the famous Chinese meme, "I'd rather cry on a BMW than laugh on a bicycle."

If You Are the One meme

Manuo, a contestant on "If You Are the One" by Sohu

This catchphrase emerged over a decade ago when a contestant named Manuo spontaneously uttered it, instantly turning it into a viral sensation. Beyond its viral status, the show has become a cultural phenomenon, sparking discussions about love, dating, and pursuing happiness.

2. Daughters in Love (女儿们的恋爱)

Daughters in Love—女儿们的恋爱

Daughters in Love by MangoTV

It’s international name is Meeting Mr. Right, and this Chinese dating show is the country's first intergenerational emotional observation program. 

It revolves around the theme of "Dads watching their daughters' romance in its purest form," capturing contemporary young people's most representative love attitudes. Through this, it presents the subtle stories between fathers, daughters, and their daughters' boyfriends, allowing viewers to witness the intricate dynamics of their own lives.

The main visual aesthetic of "Daughters in Love" predominantly features the color pink, symbolizing love. The backdrop showcases a city scene reminiscent of a fairy tale, complete with castles and Ferris wheels.

These elements accentuate the romantic ambiance, making it evident that this is a heartwarming show filled with love and sweetness.

3. Chinese Dating with the Parents (新相亲时代)

Chinese Dating with the Parents—新相亲时代

Chinese Dating with the Parents by Zhoudao

In this show, male and female guests, comprising single women and young men, have an opportunity to embark on their romantic journeys in the presence of their parents.

This captivating Chinese reality series, which can be translated as New Chinese Dating Time, is different from If You Are The One by targeting contestants who are seeking marriage. While arranged marriages have long faded in China, the influence of the traditional patriarchal system and the deeply ingrained values of filial piety ensures that parents still play a crucial role in their children's pursuit of a life partner.

Chinese Dating with the Parents is a delightful blend of humor, romance, and heartwarming moments, serving as a poignant reminder that love extends beyond the connection between the couple alone.

This remarkable show offers a captivating glimpse into the intricate dynamics of familial relationships within the context of romantic pursuits, showcasing the complexities individuals face as they navigate the labyrinthine realm of parental expectations in the Chinese reality dating landscape.

4. Perfect Dating (非常完美)

Perfect Dating—非常完美

Perfect Dating by Baidu

Perfect Dating is a popular Chinese dating reality show launched in 2011, catering to the trendy urban lifestyle. It holds the distinction of being the first celebrity confession reality show.

In the revamped version introduced in 2016, the show features an innovative live interactive screen that can be raised and lowered in front of 15 male guests. When a female guest takes the stage, a VCR showcasing her will be played on a small screen.

The male guest is then provided with information about the female guest, and based on what he sees in the VCR and the live reaction, he decides whether to lower the screen in front of him. The female guests can make their choices by presenting a self-introduction, showcasing their talents, or engaging in interactions. They can select a boy who captures their interest or directly express their lack of attraction.

International impact of Chinese dating reality shows

Chinese dating shows have not only captivated domestic audiences but have also gained international recognition and influence.

The rise of streaming platforms and online communities has enabled viewers worldwide to access and engage with these shows. Such shows' relatability and cross-cultural appeal have sparked interest and global discussions.

Furthermore, these shows have significantly impacted dating show formats in other countries. Adaptations and spin-offs of these shows have emerged in various countries, such as Take Me Out in the United Kingdom and Perfect Match in Australia. These adaptations borrow elements from the original Chinese shows while infusing their cultural nuances, catering to local audiences.

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Where can I watch or stream Chinese dating reality shows?

If you're ready to dive into the world of Chinese dating shows, several websites offer streaming options to satisfy your curiosity.

Platforms like iQiyi, Mango TV, Youku, Netflix, and specific Roku channels are popular sources where you can find many Chinese dating shows with English subtitles.

Some videos are available on YouTube, but you might need VPN to watch them, and they are unlikely to come with English subtitles.


Chinese Hanzi


English meaning



yuē huì




nán yǒu




nǚ yǒu




qīn mì




fēn shǒu





Love, romantic relationship



xiāng qīn

Blind date



làng màn




hūn yīn




xīn dòng

Heart signal/flutter, feeling attracted



zhuī qiú

Pursue, court



shī liàn

Heartbroken, disappointed in love



fēn shǒu xìn

Breakup letter



tián yán mì yǔ

Sweet nothings, words of endearment



ài qíng

Love, affection

If you are interesting in dating in China or a Chinese person, here is an article for you read up on for chinese pick-up lines: Your Ultimate Guide to Smooth Chinese Pickup Lines To Try.

Frequently asked questions

Does China have dating shows?

Yes, China has a thriving dating show culture that has gained immense popularity in recent years. These shows offer a fascinating glimpse into modern Chinese dating culture and often incorporate elements of entertainment, drama, and humor. 

What is the most famous Chinese dating show?

A couple of the most well-known dating shows in China include If You Are the One and Meeting Mr. Right

In closing

Chinese dating shows have emerged as a window into Chinese society, shedding light on traditional values, changing dating dynamics, and the role of the family in matchmaking.

These shows have entertained millions of viewers in China and garnered international acclaim and influenced dating show formats in other countries. As dating culture continues to evolve globally, Chinese reality TV remains an important cultural artifact, offering valuable insights into the complexities of love, relationships, and societal expectations.

If you're in the mood for laughter, drama, and a deeper understanding of Chinese culture, don't miss out on these must-watch dating shows.

Jing You is a Chinese native who grew up in the Fujian province and soaked in the Chinese culture while living with her grandparents. She later moved to Singapore to pursue further education. However, she has always been passionate about the Mandarin language despite being in an environment that speaks English predominantly. She was involved in multiple Mandarin and Chinese culture programmes in schools, and brought this passion forward by tutoring elementary school students Mandarin in her adulthood.

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