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After living in China for two years, Sweeney says her decision didn’t surprise him. “A recent British contestant — looking very British — was able to keep every Chinese female candidate interested in him at least in the first round,” Jing Han says.

“This was the first time a Western-looking man achieved that.”There might be hope yet for single Australians looking for romance on their favorite Chinese dating show.

From Chinese brands to Chinese neighbors and Chinese food, China and its culture are becoming a prominent feature of many Australians’ everyday lives — even if much of that culture remains foreign.‘If You Are The One,’ Han believes, doesn’t just entertain its Australian viewers but helps them better understand China and its people.

“The show draws candidates from all over China and from all different walks of life, something very rare for Chinese TV,” she explains.

Luckily for him, he was eventually spared from answering this delicate question on air.

When he returned home, Sweeney never expected the show would be a hit in Australia.

Its makers, Jiangsu Satellite TV, now bill it as the world’s biggest dating show.

What makes Australians prefer the Chinese version of the show to their own?

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Within the past year ‘If You Are The One’ has become one of the small public broadcaster’s most-watched shows.“It consistently outperforms other programs on the channel with its loyal and enthusiastic following,” says channel manager Caleb James.

Such is the show’s success with Aussies that producers have launched a casting call here for 28 men and women to fly to China in December and appear in two Australian specials.

Its popularity has surprised even SBS2’s executives, who were initially skeptical that their viewers would care to watch a matchmaking show entirely in Chinese.

For Chinese contestants and their parents, such diversity might not be easy to take.

Australian candidate Joe Sweeney left the show without a date when the woman he had chosen rejected him, saying her parents might not approve of a relationship with a foreigner.

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