Arrange divorces, earn quick bucks
Divorce counselling is emerging as a brisk business these days in China. The ever-expanding divorce rate is learnt to have nurtured the growth of a whole industry claiming specialisation in the business of marriage break-ups.
According to statistics released recently by Shanghai Municipal Civil Affairs Bureau, last year was a big year for divorce, with more than 37,000 couples, about 22 percent more, separating. The number of divorced people younger than 35 in Hangzhou increased by 30 percent in 2005, as compared to the previous year.
Taking a cue from the increasing rate of divorces in the country, Su Xin started the "Shanghai Weiqing Marriage Consulting Company" in March 2004, which has over the period acquired the epithet "China's first divorce company". Since the past two years, the company has handled thousands of cases.
The company’s annual revenue increased four-fold last year, as compared to the year before.
Dosing a brisk business, the company has been allotting its franchise. Lately, it opened its 28th franchise outlet on January 7 in Hangzhou. Interestingly, the latest unit registered as many as "six valued customers" on the very next day.
Su Xin, chairman of Shanghai Weiqing, said: "By the end of 2006, our company had helped more than 2,700 couples reconcile and 300 divorce peacefully."
Li Peixiang, general manager and marriage analyst at the Hangzhou outlet, said: "During our first week, we received 40 calls from people seeking counsel."
Most of the clients said they were on the verge of divorce and looking for help to win the biggest possible share of the property in the divorce settlement. Though the company has built its reputation helping people part ways, Li said she wanted people to think of her company as a relationship consulting company, rather than a "divorce company".
"We also provide psychological counselling to people who find themselves caught in a web of friendship, love and unhappiness," the China Daily quoted her as saying.
The company charges $24.6 dollars per hour for an assessment, and $37 for legal aid in cases involving divorce proceedings.