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Chinese dating app Tantan claims 360 million registered users but no profits

In the first quarter of 2020, Tantan generated USD 53.9 million in net revenue from 4.2 million of its paying users.

Photo source: shutterstock.com

Tantan, known as China’s answer to dating app Tinder, announced on Sunday that it has more than 360 million registered users worldwide and has generated 15 billion matches since founder Wang Yu launched the app in 2014 in Beijing. The WeChat post celebrated the company’s sixth-anniversary and hinted at an enlarging online dating market in China, where 648 million people are estimated to use dating apps in 2020.

The location-based dating app closely resembles Tinder in its appearance and functionality—a swipe-y mechanism, with users choosing based on a short bio plus photos. It also has a “Nearby” section for users to explore what others post and to follow people they find attractive.

In the report, which they released with the post, the company disclosed that 400 million of its matches are same-sex, nearly 80% of users are under 30 years old and that women swiped right 11.6% of the time while men did 60.8%, among other behavioral data.

Like Tinder, Tantan operates on a freemium model, where users can use the basic app for free but can pay for a subscription, which costs RMB 12 (USD 1.70) monthly and includes features like “super likes” and the ability to change your GPS location. There is also an additional tier priced at RMB 60 (USD 8.48) per month, allowing people to see which users liked them.

The apps of Momo and Tantan. Source: screenshot

However, six years after establishment, the app is yet to make a profit. It recorded a net loss of RMB 165.1 million (USD 23.3 million) in the first quarter of 2020, according to earnings from parent company Momo (NASDAQ:MOMO). The location-based social app, which has transformed into a live-streaming company, acquired Tantan in 2018 in a deal worth USD 760 million.

For the first quarter, when going on a real date was almost impossible due to quarantine and social distancing measures in China, Tantan booked net revenues of RMB 381.7 million (USD 53.9 million), up 29.3% year-on-year (YoY) and 3% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ), from 4.2 million of its paying users. Although the average revenue per paying user (ARPPU) increased, the number of paying users was down from the prior quarter’s 4.5 million, and the prior year’s 5 million.

During the same period, Tinder, which was the top-grossing, non-game mobile app in 2019, saw its revenue climb 31% YoY and subscribers grow 28% YoY to 6 million, parent company Match Group’s earnings report shows. The company, which also owns a slew of online dating services including OkCupid, PlentyOfFish, Hinge, Match, and others, reported a 17% YoY revenue growth to USD 545 million while Momo’s net revenues decreased by 3.5% YoY to RMB 3,594.1 million (USD 507.6 million).

Momo has been releasing new dating and entertainment apps in efforts to revive user growth and maintain its leading position in the online dating market. Attempts include face-swapping tool Zao, social app Shita, mask-chat dating app Qiaoqiao, and voice-based social app Hezi.