Gong Yan
Gong Yan spends two days a week at her own apartment in Changzhou, where she can operate in peace and relax. Weibo

A married Chinese woman in her early thirties, residing in Changzhou with her family, attracted attention when she invested in a secondary property for recreational purposes. Three years ago, Gong Yan purchased the apartment for 500,000 Chinese yuan ($69,000) using her personal savings.

Her decision was influenced by the challenges encountered during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Throughout the period, Gong found herself in a 130-square-meter apartment, isolated with her son, husband, and parents-in-law, managing their needs without much time for herself.

The acquisition of a 25-square-meter flat has provided Gong with a sense of liberation, as she now spends two days a week at the property, enjoying solitude. Her husband and son support her temporary relocation, and they visit the flat at her invitation.

Despite its modest size, Gong's apartment is meticulously organized and was tailored to her preferences following a 200,000 yuan ($28,000) renovation. The tranquility of this space allows her to focus on her role as a finance company owner.

Equipped with essential amenities, including a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and storage space, the primary area of the flat is designated for Gong's work, leisure, and relaxation.

She has maintained a biweekly routine of residing in the apartment since its purchase, citing its positive impact on her self-care. Gong believes that her ability to enjoy personal space has not only rejuvenated her but also positively impacted her personal and professional relationships.

Gong's experience has inspired a friend who is soon to be married to consider investing in a personal apartment. The enthusiastic response on social media underscores the appeal of Gong's lifestyle choice.

Her ability to find solace and balance in her personal space serves as a potential model for working women in China, many of whom grapple with high-stress levels. The challenges faced by women in managing socioeconomic, financial, and health-related issues have led many to approach marriage apprehensively.

An earlier study reported that 44% of 3,000 young individuals aged 18 to 26, who expressed unwillingness to marry, were females.

China's fertility rate, essential for its growth and stability, currently stands at 1.3, below the benchmark of 2.1 children per woman. The reluctance of young female workers to start families could pose challenges for the nation's future.