Tencent Goes After Tinder and Tantan with its New Dating App Qingliao

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Tencent, China’s largest social networking platform and operator of the immensely popular app WeChat, has launched a new dating app that seems positioned to compete with both Tinder and Tantan, China’s most popular dating app.

Qingliao - roughly translated as “light chat” – is kind of a hybrid of different dating app features already on the market. There is no swiping, but users can choose to “like” or “pass” on a potential match by choosing an “X” or a heart. When two users are matched, they can start chatting, according to details described in South China Morning Post.

The new app differs from Tinder and Tantan in another way: it limits the total number of profiles users can see within a certain time period, and the numbers vary according to gender. If you’re a man, you can see 15 profiles every 18 hours, while a woman can see 22. Also important to note: Qingliao users see the same number of profiles whether they “like” or “pass” on any of them, according to South China Morning Post.

Qinglias Screenshots
Qinglias Screenshots
Image: iOS App Store

Qingliao is allowing users to sign up when they request an invitation code on WeChat, but they are taking the verification process a step further than other dating apps. People who submit an employee card or student ID along with their photo get preference for invitation codes, and users can only log in with a WeChat or QQ account.

This could pose a threat to Tantan, currently the most popular app in the region, as well as Tinder, who is trying to grow its userbase in Asia. This past year, Match Group has invested heavily in marketing in the region, but Tencent’s strategy of appealing to its large base of WeChat users positions them to take a fair share of the dating app market.

That’s not all. Tencent launched another dating app earlier this year. Dengyu Jiaoyou allows its users to put on filters and masks when they are matched with other users for video chats. The users can remain essentially anonymous – the app only asks users to register their accounts with phone numbers and doesn’t require any more information than gender and birthdays, which are displayed as Chinese zodiac symbols in their profiles, according to Technode.

User time spent on WeChat is declining, according to market reports, and so Tencent is looking for ways to keep users on its platform and keep them engaged. According to a report by Quest Mobile, the number of hours users spend per month on WeChat fell 8.4% in June from December 2018. In addition to the two dating apps, the company has launched a new social networking app called Youji and plans to launch more.

WeChat has 1.15 billion users worldwide as of Q3 2019. Its monthly active users grew 6.3% since the same time in 2018 compared with 10.5% year on year growth in Q3 2018, according to company filings.