Among the 10 teenage couples she photographed and interviewed, all of the girls became pregnant as teenagers and did not finish high school. Afterward, she plans to return to China to work as a photographer.

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A shortlist of 100 men will be invited on an all-expenses-paid trip to Chengdu on August 23, China’s Valentines’ Day, for dinner dates with the 36 women, all aged between 28 and 49.

Competition for a place at the table will be fierce.

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.

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.

At Muyi Xiao’s high school in the crowded city of Wuhan, teachers criticized any girl who had a boyfriend. Xiao, 24, read a story about a 16-year-old couple who had wed in a small village in south eastern China, she was compelled to find out more.

The next day she hopped on a plane and flew four hours to photograph and write about them for the Chinese website Tencent.

Because they are very successful they also expect their husband to be at least as successful as they are.” Rebecca Chen, who at 29 is one of the youngest Chengdu-based millionaires to sign up for the project, said social norms also hampered a rich woman’s search for the perfect man.