Soul and Momo declined to remark. Tantan, which is owned by Momo, didn’t reply to a request for remark.
The apps themselves have modified. Tantan and Momo had lengthy matched customers based mostly on their bodily look, resulting in accusations that the platforms cultivated a hookup tradition. Extra not too long ago, these apps have began utilizing folks’s pursuits, hobbies and personalities as the idea for brand new social encounters.
Douyin, which is owned by ByteDance and is China’s model of TikTok, and Little Crimson Guide, an app with similarities to Instagram, have constructed “social discovery” options that use their information of individuals’s preferences to match them. Soul has turn into particularly well-liked up to now few years for its avatar profiles and its follow of linking customers based mostly on character assessments. Final 12 months, the app surpassed Tantan and Momo as probably the most downloaded relationship app on the Chinese language iOS retailer.
“What I like most about Soul is that it doesn’t pressure you to take a look at a photograph and swipe left and proper,” stated Yang Zhuoluo, 23, a masters scholar in Beijing who met a few of her shut associates on the platform. “It helps you to submit, share concepts after which everybody can like and remark.”
In July, Soul filed for an preliminary public providing in Hong Kong after tripling its month-to-month lively customers to 31 million between 2019 and 2021. Three-quarters of its customers have been born between 1990 and 2009, in response to its prospectus. (It filed to go public in the US in 2021, however stepped again from such an providing.)
Many customers of those relationship apps seem much less fascinated by romance than in assembly associates. In an October survey carried out by a Chinese language analysis institute, 89 p.c of respondents stated that they had used a relationship app earlier than, with a majority saying they needed primarily to increase their social circles, not discover a companion.
Vladimir Peters, a Shanghai-based developer who’s engaged on his personal relationship app, stated many youthful Chinese language now need the apps to supply a extra holistic expertise that blends leisure and interest exploration — not only a love match.