Planet China

Marriage, then mortgage

Many people get married for love. But in Beijing there is a new breed of woman who views the whole thing in a far more transactional light. Known as huntuo, these ladies sell their wedding vows to those from outside the capital who want to buy a property, but aren’t eligible. As WiC has pointed out before, Beijing has restrictions on who can buy property (imposed to stymie prices). Those without a Beijing hukou (household registration) need to have paid tax in the city for five years to qualify as a buyer. Enter the huntuo – which roughly translates as ‘trust fund bride’ – who will marry you, enabling you to jointly to buy a property. You pay a fee, then she divorces you, but you keep the property. The practice has been going on for a while but made headlines again last week when China National Radio reported on the activities of one particularly enterprising lady who has clocked up three marriages and three divorces in less than five months. The radio station said officials were investigating her marital affairs but from a legal point of view were a bit stumped. Currently there is no limit to how many times someone can get married and divorced within a single year. It’s thought the huntuo ladies charge around Rmb20,000 per betrothal.

© ChinTell Ltd. All rights reserved.

Sponsored by HSBC.

The Week in China website and the weekly magazine publications are owned and maintained by ChinTell Limited, Hong Kong. Neither HSBC nor any member of the HSBC group of companies ("HSBC") endorses the contents and/or is involved in selecting, creating or editing the contents of the Week in China website or the Week in China magazine. The views expressed in these publications are solely the views of ChinTell Limited and do not necessarily reflect the views or investment ideas of HSBC. No responsibility will therefore be assumed by HSBC for the contents of these publications or for the errors or omissions therein.