Tantan Dating App Removed from Chinese App Store

China
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Tantan, the popular dating app often referred to as China’s Tinder, was recently removed from the Chinese app store in an effort by the government to “clean up content in cyberspace,” according to ZDNet.

There were no specifics given as to why the app was removed, but the company issued a statement saying that it is complying with the government’s requirements. The app was removed from both the Apple and Android stores in China.

Momo, Tantan’s parent company, also issued a statement saying it was "proactively communicating with the relevant government authorities" and will "fully cooperate" to restore the app's availability "as soon as possible," according to Yahoo! Finance. Shares of the company tumbled after the app’s removal.

Likely, it has something to do with China’s crackdown last year of pornographic material that was being distributed via mobile apps, a problem that many dating apps have encountered. In addition to cleaning up content, the government wants to prevent companies from collecting private information from dating app users. China’s Internet watchdog said that taking apps off the market until they are compliant was “to protect the youth,” according to ZDNet.

Momo acquired Tantan a year ago for $800 million in an effort to grow its market share. Momo’s revenue was flat but with Tantan’s 3.9 million paid users added to the mix, the company was able to report 67% growth in paid subscriptions for all its apps in the first quarter of 2019, according to Yahoo!

Tantan is one of the most popular dating apps in the world, with an average user base of over 100 million, and about 20 million active users per month, according to the company. Its format is very similar to Tinder, where users can swipe left to reject or right to accept a potential match. It’s most popular with those 24 and younger.

Like with Tinder, Tantan’s members can purchase access to its premium service for unlimited profile views, swipes and matches.

Match Group sued Tantan over the similarities to its technology and interface, and Tantan agreed to pay Match Group royalties in a settlement (in May of 2018). Tantan’s removal from the app store is the company’s latest challenge, as the removal prevents new users from downloading the service (and therefore hinders its growth). Current members however are still able to access the app online.

Tantan isn’t the only app that was taken down. Popular news apps Baidu and Sohu have also been partially blocked for “spreading vulgar contents” or “damaging the cyber public opinion ecology,” according to ZDNet.