Ikea branch in Shanghai offers matchmaking corner

A branch of Ikea in Shanghai has set up a special “match-making corner” after its cafeteria became a favourite spot for amorous Chinese singles.

For the past year, large groups of middle-aged Chinese men and women, typically aged between 40 and 60, have gathered at Ikea’s branch in Xuhui in the hope of finding love.

The singles parties have taken place every Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, when the Swedish furniture store offers free coffee to holders of its membership card…

Ikea said it was forced to set up a special area for the would-be lovers to stop them from being a nuisance to other customers.

“Before we set up an isolated area for them, they occupied the seats in the dining area for a long time, and thus other guests could not find a seat,” said Shen Jinhua, an employee, to the Shanghai Daily newspaper. “And sometimes our business went down by 15 per cent on their ‘party’ day.”

The marketplace of commerce has long been a useful place for like-minded singles of any age to find each other. Though usually it takes a certain level of maturity for the idea to even occur to someone.

I remember back in the day haunting the baking aisle of better supermarkets – knowing that a conversation about using a biga as the foundation for bread-baking versus following a same-day recipe would likely offer as much potential for a date with a sophisticated someone – as just another variation on focaccia.

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