eHarmony to open a dating service in China

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The Los Angeles Business Journal has a piece called "Translating the Book of Love" which looks at the dating service eHarmony and if its current matching and communication system will work well in other countries with different cultures. Currently eHarmony has separate dating services for the United States, Canada and Australia. These services do differ slightly but the questions for the dating profiles and the matching system, for the most part, are either the same or very similar. This is in part because all 3 countries major language is english and the culture surrounding marriage and dating are not all that different.

In June eHarmony plans to launch a UK version with other European countries to follow. The big news is, they do plan to launch a dating site in China. This means a new language for them and new cultural differences to work out. eHarmony did do some research to see if it was possible to convert their dating site and matching system. Through focus groups in China, a panel of psychologists validated the translations of questionnaires and found that cultural differences matter little when it comes to measuring personality types and values. A Beijing University study also confirmed that eHarmony's matching system will work well in matching China's singles together. eHarmony's lead PH.D. psychology researcher, Galen Bucjwalter is quoted:

“We found the models to be highly effective in that we can predict successful marriages in China,”

With 4 times the population of the United States, and with China's average income levels for the middle class increasing every year, there is a huge potential for revenue if a dating service is well received by the public.

Another interesting point in the article was the fact that eHarmony spends about $3 million a year in research to find out what makes couples compatible and stay in a long term relationship. This dollar amount includes the salaries of 6 full time PH.D. researchers.

For more information about eHarmony, take a look at our review.