8 Most Popular Dating Apps in China
June 21, 2022
In today’s interconnected world, one of the most popular approaches to meeting new people is through online dating apps. Whether you’re planning to move to China, are a new expat living here, or have been in China for years, dating apps have made it more accessible to find new connections or meet people you otherwise would not cross paths with in China.
These apps have even led to long term relationships and love in China. Some readers at this point may be rolling their eyes. Don’t worry, we get it - online dating can be tiresome. But dating online in China can also be exciting, full of surprises, and might even introduce you to your future partner. In a survey conducted by Date Night China in September 2021, 36% of respondents reported they actually met their partners on an online dating platform in China.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves yet – you have to get on the apps first. When you have a plethora of dating apps to choose from in China, where do you begin?
To make it easier, we've rounded up the best dating apps in China, whether you’re looking to meet other expats or meet locals.
Tantan 探探 (*tàntàn*)
Momo 陌陌 (*mòmò*)
Coffee Meets Bagel
Other notable dating apps
Tips for using any Chinese dating apps
1. Tantan 探探 (tàntàn)
Often called the “Chinese Tinder,” Tantan is one of the most popular Chinese dating apps. It looks and operates the same way as Tinder: after filling out a profile description and adding photos, users will swipe left or right on people within their set age and area ranges. Once a match is made, either person can start the conversation. Tantan has a large base of Chinese users in their 20s and 30s who live in urban areas of China. It’s very easy and also free to use, with paid upgrade options to unlock additional features.
What to know: Most users will speak in Chinese on the app, so if you’re looking to meet locals or practice your Chinese, this is one of the best options. (If you want to join but don’t speak Chinese, sign up for Chinese lessons!) But just like Tinder, it does have a stigma of being a hook up app. In the end, it’s up to you and your match to share your intentions and what you’re looking for.
Tinder, widely recognized as the international king of dating apps, is also used in China. Before, you needed a VPN and Facebook account to sign up and access Tinder, but now you can just sign up with a phone number. It is very popular within expat circles in China and is also used by internationally-minded Chinese people. It’s especially used in international cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen.
Key feature: Many users will sign up for a Tinder upgrade that allows you to swipe in cities other than the one they are currently in. It’s a great feature if you will be traveling to other cities and want to make connections in advance.
Many members of our Date Night China community have reported on using Badoo, a free Chinese dating app. Similar to Tinder and Tantan, you can swipe left or right in the “Encounters section” to find singles near you. The novel thing about Badoo is that it takes matching to the next level: it will show you people nearby in your area that share some of your interests, as well as any whose path you’ve crossed during the day (never have a “missed connection” again!) The display will also show you when and where you encountered them.
WeChat isn’t typically considered a dating app – but it is the mega hub of communication in China. It’s where people will chat with friends, view photos or videos shared on friend’s “moments”, pay bills, book cars and trains, and so much more.
WeChat also has a unique feature called “search nearby.” This “search nearby” feature allows you to look for profiles within a short distance from you. Because of this feature, and the fact that you will most likely move onto WeChat from any other Chinese dating app anyways, it’s worth a notable mention. (If you don’t want to use this feature, don’t worry. You have to enable this feature on WeChat first before you can be found).
What to know: While it’s an interesting feature, most people who have tried this out of curiosity have not reported much success with it and have said that some questionable people have added them. It doesn’t have the filters that other dating apps do, so just be warned.
For those in China’s gay community, Blued is one of the top apps used. Launched in 2012 in China, the app now has over 60 million users worldwide and operates as a location-based dating and livestreaming service for gay and bisexual men.
For other gay dating apps in China, Aloha, Scruff and Grindr are also widely used by both Chinese and expats.
Bumble is an app where women take the lead. After swiping and getting a match, women have the power to initiate conversations, while men can only respond after the women start the chat. Bumble also has the option to search for friends, rather than dates. While not one of the main apps used by the Chinese market, many expats in larger cities in China enjoy using Bumble and report it’s one of their top apps used in China. People have said Bumble users are more intentional with using the app, so it has a better reputation for finding good connections. Want some conversation openers to get you started? Here are some Chinese pickup lines you can choose from!
7. Momo 陌陌 (mòmò)
Momo is a social messaging app that allows users to chat with nearby friends and strangers. It is more widely used by Chinese people than expats. The app has many options for searching partners by interests, location, appearance, etc. Many users have reported Momo is better for making friends rather than finding dates and is not very user friendly, especially if you don’t speak Chinese. But if you’re willing to give it a try and overcome these barriers, you may have some interesting interactions!
8. Coffee Meets Bagel
Coffee Meets Bagel calls itself “the original anti-swiping app”. The app is intended for those who want something more meaningful than most Tinder matches, but also want a fun and easy app to use. While it has a smaller user base than Tinder and Tantan, many China daters have said they enjoy using it, especially young professionals and those who work in media, banking, and law.
Other notable dating apps in China to try:
You’ll find other international dating apps in China, like Hinge, OK Cupid, Mamba, and Date in Asia. While the apps themselves work well, it is important to note that they probably have a smaller user base so you may not find as many matches (but hey, quality over quantity! All it takes is finding the right one).
For more Chinese online dating app options, check out Baihe (百合) and QingChiFan (请吃饭). They don’t have the same popularity as TanTan but will offer a variety of people who are also looking to get off of the mainstream Chinese dating apps.
Tips for using any Chinese dating apps:
As with any dating app, you will run into scammers, catfish, fake profiles, and bots (it goes with the territory, unfortunately). Be prepared to screen your matches and be mindful of who you give your information out to. Likewise, it’s also recommended that you are honest about yourself – no one wants to be on the other end of a catfish!
Also, it helps when you’re intentional with dating online. Think about what you’re looking for and be upfront with people you match with. It’s 2022 after all, and ain’t nobody got time for playing games.
Using Dating Apps in China
At the end of the day, using a dating app in China is just like anywhere else – you can get out of it what you put into it, and it all depends on what you’re looking for. It can take some time, but there are gems that you’ll find online that can become real romantic connections and friendships. The people you meet in China will help enrich your life abroad and lead to more meaningful experiences, so don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. Happy dating!
Photos: UNSPLASH, Pixabay, WeChat help center
About the Guest Author
Date Night China is a digital media brand and international community based in China. We help people connect and share stories related to dating and relationships in China.
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