Dozens of Chinese websites have been set up to introduce Vietnamese girls to Chinese men.
They use a wide array of promotional tricks to lure customers. For instance, the tagline ‘We are the most prestigious marriage brokers in Vietnam’. Some use the well-known Vietnamese song Beo dat may troi (Flowing duckweed, wandering cloud) for background music and post images of Ms. Vietnam winners on their homepages.
Their consultants are always available on hotlines or QQ, the most popular chat software in China, to serve customers.
“Vietnamese brides are obedient and will never run away unless they are beaten,” a consultant nicknamed ‘deng’ said. Another, named ‘sa sa’, advertised that “We have plenty of brides for you to select.”
Just with a click, customers can choose their wives from among hundreds of prospective brides. Some websites even create forums for the grooms-to-be to comment on the women in both Chinese and Vietnamese.
Pinyin City of Guangxi Province is the centre of the online Vietnamese bride market in China. Of the ten favourite bride websites, six have their head offices in Pinyin. The others are from Shanghai and Beijing, and Hebei province.
While pretending to be men who are looking for wives, Tuoi Tre reporters received hundreds of consultations from these marriage brokerage websites.
Consultant Xiao Huang shared that the all-in price for a seven-day trip to look for a wife in Vietnam is about CNY36,000 (US$5,671).
Huang affirmed that his company will perform all the necessary services and procedures, including a wedding ceremony. A prospective groom will only have to present a certificate affirming that he is not married and some photos of his house.
Some Chinese brokerage websites even provide fake addresses in Vietnam to increase their reliability. They also provide several Vietnamese phone numbers; Tuoi Tre dialed ten of them but eight were out of service.
After trying number 016556…, Tuoi Tre met a Vietnamese man named Mai from the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap.
After the reporters talked about how poor they were and their desire to earn money to help their families, Mai revealed that his daughter had married a Taiwanese man, and every year she returns to Vietnam to find girls for Taiwanese men.
When his daughter is not in Vietnam, Mai takes prospective brides to Ho Chi Minh City, where matchmakers named Gioi and Ha bring them to a Chinese woman named Bao, according to Mai.
After asking carefully about the girls’ appearance, including the three major measurements, Bao takes them to District 10 for Chinese men to choose.
A number of Chinese men have logged onto these marriage brokerage websites to select Vietnamese brides, not for themselves but for other men in their country, in order to enjoy commission.
Two weeks after applying to be a potential bride, a Tuoi Tre reporter received a phone call from the HM marriage brokerage company telling her to be present at their office to meet a Chinese man. They said that he comes from Shanghai for business work and will also see some prospective brides during the trip.
The man, who was around 50 years old, saw the Tuoi Tre reporter and three other girls. He went around, took a good look at the girls, and said something to the company staff.
The reporter was then informed that he had chosen her for a friend from Guangxi, who would become her husband.
Websites put on fancy dress
Several Vietnamese companies have established websites supposedly for people to make friends, but actually provide marriage brokerage services.
Tuoi Tre reporters sent an email to a company which introduced itself as one of the most popular websites in Vietnam for women seeking foreign boyfriends. They were then told to visit the company in the Thuan Viet building in District 11.
After filling in a form with personal information, the girls were carefully made up and asked to dress in short and low-necked clothes and high heels to take suggestive photos.
“Your photos will be posted on the internet for foreigners to choose from. The company will help the girls find out about their partners,” said makeup artist Yen.
Most of the Vietnamese girls chat or send emails to the foreign men via interpreters at the company. They also provide a foreign language crash course for the girls if they want one, she added.
“After marriage, the company will take no further responsibility for the girls’ destiny,” said another staff member.