Photo: Nidal M
The UK’s Asian community is choosing to find partners via the Internet rather than arranged marriages. Matrimonial websites are growing rapidly, at a time when marriage rates are the lowest in a century.
Matchmaking websites, which promote long-time relationships and marriages, are growing, according to shaadi.com, the biggest matrimonial website in the world. Shaadi.com has been growing by 15 per cent over the last year and presently has 150.000 to 200.000 active members in the UK alone.
Predominantly, such platforms are used by the Asian community, but are also used by non-Asians who have strong connections to the Asian culture. The importance of marriage and the tradition of arranged marriages in the Asian culture make matrimonial websites more attractive to them than other matchmaking web pages.
Customers can search for their partner by language or religion. According to Anupam Mittal, CEO of People Group (which shaadi.com belongs to), this gives people the opportunity to find the right partner. He says: “We do not promote segregation. We have inter-faith marriages quite often.”
Sarovi Drone met her husband Ronak Drone on shaadi.com. For her it was difficult to find a partner with the same cultural background and the same intention of a long-time relationship. Mrs. Drone says: “Initially, my parents wanted to choose a partner for me, but I thought a matrimonial website would be better for me.”
Although the overall feedback of shaadi.com is positive, some customers complain about fake profiles. Mr. Mittal says that these problems come with the business but they are currently “working on it”. Geeta Srivastava, Country Head of shaadi.com in England, says: “Anyone, who is being reported for having other intentions than long-time relationships, will be expelled from the website.”
Mr. Mittal adds that they are also intending to break into non-Asian markets by the end of 2012. “Any conservative society is a potential market for us. In the future we will focus on the rest of Asia and the U.S.”