Online dating in China has never been bigger and Chinese dating apps are where the action is. Looking for a lifetime partner, casual date, romantic dinner or a quick hook up – rest assured that there is an app for it in China, although it isn’t the one you are familiar with at home.
Here is our review of the most popular Chinese dating apps:
Momo is, by far, the most popular Chinese dating app and by the number of users this mobile app is only second to WeChat.
In the last couple of years Momo has been trying hard to improve its past seedy reputation re-positioning itself more of an interest based social app rather than purely a hook up service. It has added some shopping elements, games, groups etc. Those changes also made it harder to navigate – it is sort of all over the place nowadays.
Nevertheless, when it comes to Chinese dating apps, Momo is the first one that comes to mind of most singles in China.
Unfortunately, it is only available in Chinese – the English version was discontinued 3 years ago, although the company promises to launch an international version in the future.
After Momo, Tantan is the second most popular Chinese dating app. It doesn’t have a great deal of features focusing on just one mission – being a purely a location based hook up app.
In terms of design, Tantan is a shameless Tinder rip-off taking advantage of its famous trademark feature – left or right swipe. Two users that “liked” each other can start a chat and there is a daily limit on how many profiles can be viewed. Similar to Tinder, more features can be unlocked with premium membership which is how the app makes money.
Although Tantan is almost exact copy of Tinder (it also can be used in English), the western original has only itself to blame for not making it in China. By linking itself to Facebook as the only way to create an account, it has locked itself out of Chinese market from the start.
Baihe takes looking for a date onto a whole new level. It targets people who are serious about finding the right match and are not there just looking for a booty call. In fact, users’ info in Baihe look more like job resumes rather than typical dating profiles.
All users must use real names and have to pass verification to ensure there are no fakes. They are also encouraged to list assets like housing and cars with the proof that they really own them. Educational credentials such as diplomas and certificates as well as credit score are also common profile features.
Dating is a serious business on Baihe and this attitude is what sets it apart from other Chinese dating apps.
QingChiFan literally means “invitation to a meal” which is already self-explanatory name for this Chinese dating app. The idea is that getting to know each other over a meal is the most natural form of dating.
Typically, guys would be the ones offering dinner invitations and it is up to a girl to accept it. Of course, the opposite is also possible although much less common.
User can also choose to extend invitation to a group as well as set the time frame within which the offer is valid: only for today, tomorrow or within a week. The “inviter” can narrow down the criteria for invitees based on age, profession and even zodiac sign.
QingChiFan seems to be a great concept with a lot of potential and, for a change, without a direct equivalent in the West as far as we know.
No list of Chinese dating apps would be complete without mentioning Blued, the most popular service for gay community. It is also available in English.
Upon registration, users are required to upload a short video of themselves which will be manually matched with uploaded photos by Blued team. This way, the app attempts to make sure that only real people are allowed to use it but without having them to use real identities – a valid concern for many gays living in a fairly conservative Chinese society.
Although it is still the most popular Chinese dating app for gays, Blued may soon find itself fighting a strong competitor – the majority stake of Grindr, the most popular Western equivalent, has recently been acquired by a Chinese billionaire.
WeChat isn’t typically considered a dating app, although it is often used as one. The popular “Search nearby” feature allows looking for profiles within a short distance filtered out by gender preference. Users have to enable the feature first before they can be found, which means that everyone who shows up in search results is making him or her visible on purpose.
Moreover, no matter what dating app one uses, once the match is found, sooner or later, they would move to WeChat anyway – it’s just easier and everyone has it anyway.
So, although WeChat isn’t a dating app, it can rightly be considered to be a part of the overall dating ecosystem in China.