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“They believe a woman should have a family so when she is old, her family will take care of her ...

They wouldn’t want me to be a ‘leftover woman’,” she said.

“We just don’t have enough bandwidth to bring someone new on board [for] a relationship.” More work hours have also contributed to delaying marriages, making it harder to meet a partner simply through friends’ introductions, according to Violet Lim, co-founder and chief executive officer of Lunch Actually, a local Asian dating service.

“Some Hong Kong singles are conservative and find it hard to open up to meeting new people or approach people they do not know,” she said.

For heterosexuals, this creates a dating scene where men can afford to be picky, he suggested, while women are often under pressure to “marry down” by partnering with a less educated man.

Lunar New Year spike in price of China’s fake boyfriends and girlfriends, hired by singles to save face over the holidays Analysing Hong Kong’s gender statistics suggests the same phenomenon could be occurring here.

Romantic Hongkongers are ‘world’s biggest Valentine’s Day spenders’ But Lunch Actually’s over 4,000 members – mostly professionals and executives in their late 20s to mid-30s – have also become more flexible in their dating preferences, Lim observed.

For expatriate daters, Hong Kong is a transient place, compounding the sense that relationships are likely to be short-lived.

Dr Sandy To Sin-chi, sociologist and the author of China’s Leftover Women: Late Marriage among Professional Women and its Consequences, said she believed the “auspicious” year would bring about more weddings, and that marriage remained an important goal for most Hongkongers.And Valentine’s Day is just one of the occasions when single women, particularly, face excruciating questions from friends, family and colleagues about their relationship status.Hong Kong singleton Vicki (not her real name), a 29-year-old English teacher, said her family would accept it if she never married, but only if she pursued a long-term relationship that produced children.“I don’t think it is normally a choice to be single,” she said. Even those who delay it and have children, I think they will eventually sign the papers even if it is just for practical reasons, such as inheritance.” Big city pressures Long working hours, small living spaces and the fast pace of city life have long been blamed for difficulties in finding love.Hong Kong has the longest average working week in the world at 50.1 hours, a UBS survey found last year.

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