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Baihe started out as a networking site called “Hey You” but transformed into a dating site after executives realized that the most active users were young singles.
Despite the common stereotype of dating apps being used for casual hookups, these apps are typically used by people who are looking for lasting connections.
Houran points out the potential unintended consequence: in the age of dating apps, people are pickier and more selective, compared to offline dating.
“People now may more easily develop unrealistic expectations for what they seek in a partner,” he says.
Chinese online dating services have grown increasingly popular as they draw on traditional Chinese dating values such as material security and marriage-focused relationships, and expand connections beyond the screen with offline events and relationship counseling services.
Compatibility expert James Houran, says, “American culture emphasizes individuality whereas Chinese culture places more importance on the community as a collective.
“We’re looking for people who are more relationship-driven,” says Liu.
“We are matching for long-term relationships.” While dating apps and sites have made it easier for users to find a large number of highly-targeted matches and thus widening the dating pool for Chinese singles, negative effects have also arisen.
In Chinese culture unmarried women in their late twenties and beyond are labeled “leftover women” or 剩女.On dating apps, Zhou says, “We have the autonomy to decide if we feel good about and would like to meet this potential date in real life.” When Jiayuan’s founder Gong Haiyan was a Masters student at Shanghai’s ultra-competitive Fudan University, she came up with the idea for the website in the hopes of helping her busy college friends find love.Privy M8 (M8), a new American matchmaking platform currently targeting young Asian-American professionals, was inspired by the experiences of the founder and CEO Stephen Christopher Liu, who met his wife through mutual friends.Put more simply, an American asks, ‘How does my heart feel?’ whereas a Chinese individual tended to ask, ‘What will other people say?
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In addition to these laws, China’s Open Door Policy of 1978, which began to expose Chinese to outside cultural influences, further destabilized traditional customs.