Dating apps help build community in China

Young Chinese citizens are using dating apps as social hubs in a country that feels more disconnected than ever.

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Dating apps help build community in China


The Future. Young Chinese citizens are using dating apps as social hubs in a country that feels more disconnected than ever. While users report that the apps have been a boon for expanding their community, Beijing realizes that the apps could also be co-opted as a tool for social engineering… which may be why they’ve escaped the greater tech-regulation crackdown.

Swipe right to socialize

According to NYT, Chinese citizens are turning to dating apps not just to date but to meet people.

  • Dating apps have become “virtual sanctuaries” for young Chinese people to socialize, make friends, find roommates, and build community — especially as “zero-COVID” policies make that extremely difficult.
  • Romance actually isn’t that big of a utility for dating apps, with one study by the China Youth Daily Social Survey Center finding that most people just wanted to “expand their social circles.”

One Shanghai-based developer, Vladimir Peters, said that young people increasingly want dating to be a “more holistic experience that blends entertainment and hobby exploration.”

Social engineering

The three most popular dating apps — Momo, Tantan, and Soul — have a collective 150 million monthly active users. And investors are putting their money where the people are, investing $5.3 billion last year (up from only $300 million in 2019).

And unlike almost every other tech sector in the country, Chinese authorities are allowing and, at times, encouraging the increased engagement and investment. 

That’s because many of these platforms are positioning themselves as tools for “helping Chinese society to thrive,” — which includes pushing people toward marriage and eventually having kids (which are at record lows) and combating loneliness (which is at an all-time high).

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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