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Chinese Tinder-like Tantan launches “Flash Chat” mode to boost matches 

The platform also wants to monetize the new function to drive revenues.

Photo source: tuchong.stock.com

Tantan, one of the biggest Tinder-like dating platforms in China, has rolled out a new in-app feature called “Flash Chat,” which connects users based on factors like location, age, job, and interests, but without revealing a key element in the online dating world: the user’s picture.

When the “Flash Chat” (pronounced as “Shanliao” in Chinese) mode is active, users can immediately get potential matches powered by the system’s algorithm, and then they can start a conversation with their photos being blurry. Users can then unlock each other’s pictures and complete profiles after sharing over 20 messages. That’s also the moment when the “match” is concreted.

With the move, Tantan wants to boost matches on the platform, predilecting attributes such as common interests over the user’s appearance. Tantan also wants to monetize the new function by offering a “sneak peek” button, which allows users to have a look at the potential match’s picture by paying from RMB 6 (less than USD 1) to RMB 25 for a limited amount of “views”.

Recently, Tantan’s founder Wang Yu told 36Kr that the number of the app’s registered users hit 300 million. This compares to end 2018 when the online matchmaker claimed 100 million registered users and 20 million monthly active users (MAUs).

Screenshot of Tantan’s online flash chat function.

Tantan, which was bought by the Nasdaq-listed social networking company Momo in 2018, has been testing a slew of new functions every month, but has released a few of them officially, Chinese tech-focused media Product Hunter reported, citing a company insider.

Earlier in April and May, Tantan was taken down from the Android and Apple app store due to unspecified “violations,” TechInAsia reported. The company said it would work to rectify the issues but failed to provide major explanations. The platform was then relaunched on Chinese app stores in July.

Momo CEO Tang Yan said that since restoring Tantan’s download and payment service in mid-July, the platform has been recovering with robust momentum across different user and revenue metrics. “We expect Tantan to become an important driver of the company’s growth in the coming few years,” Yang said in Momo’s second-quarter earnings report.

Non-GAAP loss from operations of the Tantan segment has narrowed to RMB 47.9 million (USD 7 million) in the second quarter, compared to last year’s RMB 51.5 million.

The internet dating market has been booming in China. According to a report from research firm iiMedia, there were 592 million users on online dating services in 2018, and the figure is expected to reach 622 million by the end of 2019.

Social giant Tencent has also tapped into the online dating industry. Last week, it unveiled Qingliao, a dating app targeting youngsters across workplaces and college campuses, KrASIA reported.