“I believe this is the first time [there has been such a scheme] only tailored for wealthy women,” Mr Du told The Daily Telegraph this week during a visit to Shanghai, one of the cities he is tapping for potential husbands.Dating is big business in China, a country that is reputedly home to some 180 million single people.Early this year the founder of one of China’s biggest online dating sites – – told local television his company was making annual profits of around £20 million from its 36 million registered users.

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“Men have a much higher success rate [in finding love] and a much broader selection, since they can choose someone from a lower social group,” said Chen, whose family controls a Chengdu property and hotel empire.

“For women, it is almost impossible to choose downwards — their family and friends would not approve and they would face many difficulties.” Mr Du’s hunt for eligible bachelors, a collaboration with Hong Kong-based dating agency Feng Qiu Huang, began on June 18 when he began taking online applications from across China and the world.

So far around 1,500 men have signed up, including one Australian and several applicants from the US and Canada.

Last month the People’s Daily newspaper warned that “social harmony and stability” could be threatened if millions of rural men were unable to find partners.

But China’s super-rich women are facing problems of their own, said Mr Du, not least finding time to scout for would-be husbands.

“They are very busy, of course, so they don’t have much time to meet the ideal date.

They are always surrounded by business people or customers so they don’t have much of a chance to meet good guys outside their [immediate] circles.” Wealthy women also faced prejudice from men of their own social class, he claimed.

“Wealthy men don’t necessarily want a wife as successful as them.

They want a good wife and a good mother but they don’t necessarily want a successful women because [they think she] will spend lots of time on business [but] not on the family.