Tinder Revamps Its Image to Attract Users in Asia

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Dating app Tinder has a hook-up reputation – and because of this, users in more conservative countries in Asia might be hesitant to try the app. In response, Tinder is revamping its image to maintain its growth streak.

Dating app growth overall has slowed in the U.S. as the market becomes saturated, and it is expected to slow even more through 2022. In order to expand its opportunities, Match Group – Tinder’s parent company, has put a lot of resources into the Asian market, including hiring key executives to oversee the region and advertising its suite of apps.

Tinder presents a bit of a problem, however. The dating app’s reputation as a casual dating app preceded its launch in the region. And for a market where there is huge growth potential as young tech-savvy adults come of age to date and marry, especially as more female users download dating apps, there are some cultural barriers.

South China Morning Post points out a few examples. “Premarital sex is frowned upon in the Philippines, arranged marriages are commonplace in India, and sogaeting (blind dates arranged by friends) is the norm in South Korea.” And as the article also points out, when Tinder launched, executives weren’t thinking about Asia or appealing to a varied range of cultural traditions, they were focused on U.S. daters, where there weren’t the same considerations or restrictions when it comes to dating.

But now, it’s obvious that Tinder must expand its userbase in the Asian market as other apps jump in to compete. Currently, millions of singles across Asia haven’t even tried a dating app, so there is huge growth potential.

Tinder’s new marketing tactic is for potential users to use the app as a way to find friends, rather than strictly for dating.

It seems to be working in South Korea, where South China Morning Post reported the app as number one in both downloads and monthly users in both the Apple Store and Google Play, whereas four years ago it didn’t even make the top five dating apps.

But Tinder (and parent company Match Group) are going to have to appeal to specific cultural nuances for each region. In the U.S., Tinder profiles are inundated with selfies, but in South Korea, people post pictures of their favorite food, their pets, or their hobbies. In India, religion, language and caste still feature prominently in user profiles. And in Japan interestingly, daters want to know blood type as a sign of your personality and compatibility.

As Tinder tries to expand in Asia, it will have to become increasingly more localized to appeal to each region’s particular cultural nuances. But it’s making headway. The app that took off in America is not the same app that is expected to expand across Asia as more people turn to dating apps to meet.