Match Group Launches New App in Japan to Compete with Arranged Marriage Industry

Match Group
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Pairs Engage Dating App

Match Group is serious about its expansion in the Asian market. It just announced the launch of its new app Pairs Engaged – a “marriage concierge” service to compete with the country’s popular arranged marriage industry.

Pairs Engaged is the opposite of the company’s star dating app Tinder. There’s no casual glancing through photos and swiping left and right. Instead, the customers Match Group is targeting are looking to get married within a year and are serious about the search process.

According to Business Insider, users who sign up for the app are asked to provide documentation such as proof of identity, income and single status before they can begin. Once verified, the app suggests 30 potential wives or husbands every month. It also provides a 24/7 concierge team that offers dating and marriage advice. Users are able to schedule first meetings, exchange messages for 90 days, and then date exclusively before getting married.

Match is betting on Pairs Engaged to be a better alternative for Japanese daters, in light of the country’s declining marriage and birth rates. The New York Times points out that the decline is in part due to more women entering the workforce and shunning marriage.

But the arranged marriage industry – or “omiai” – is still quite popular throughout the country, even among young people. According to Business Insider, the industry is worth $500 million, which includes physical stores, employees and service staff. This cost transfers to consumers, which makes the endeavor to find a spouse very expensive and time-consuming.

Pairs Engage costs 9,800 yen (or around $92) per month, according to reports from Match Group's earnings call. When users first join, they also pay a 9,800 sign-up fee once they are through the verification process and can begin using the service. According to Business Insider, this is about a third the cost of the major traditional services.

"We believe we can offer a more efficient and less expensive service geared to those who are highly motivated and want to get married within a year," Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg said during the second quarter earnings call. “A move like this could disrupt more traditional matrimonial players."

It’s an interesting leap for a dating app company like Match Group to compete with the arranged marriage business, with no comparison to make as no other dating apps are in this space. Ginsberg insists that the company intends to “shake up” the industry by increasing access for those who otherwise can’t afford arranged marriage services.

The app has launched in four Japanese cities including Tokyo, and according to Ginsberg is already gaining traction. She alluded to making similar services available in other marriage-minded countries like India and South Korea.