Dating was hard once. People had to go to a bar or public space with friends (or on their own), consume larger-than-normal quantities of alcohol, and hopefully find someone they were remotely interested in. That, or one’s friends would set them up with someone quasi-compatible and hope for the best. (Chances are you exist thanks to one of these scenarios.)
These days, dating takes less effort than doing the laundry. If you have a smart phone or any internet-connected device, you can simply create a profile, search for someone you might be interested, and meet that person in a crowded public space. If you don’t get along with that person, you simply keep searching until you find one you can tolerate.
Tinder is one of the biggest date-matching services in the United States. Millions of users use the app each day in hopes of finding that special someone (or somethin’-somethin’). The service makes billions from premium subscription features and ads. Simply put, Tinder is on top of the dating business, and business is good.
Yet when it comes to China, Tinder is missing in action. Thanks to the country’s strict policies and favoritism toward Chinese companies, homegrown dating apps with unique regional features reign supreme. Momo, a publicly traded Chinese dating app, is not only the biggest app of its kind, but it’s also the country’s answer to Tinder. It’s also bigger and better than its American counterpart in a few key ways.
Momo is like Tinder for China, but better.
Tinder uses pictures, text, and messaging to match users. Momo primarily focuses on short-form videos and live streaming to get friends (or potential romantic interests to get together). It’s nowhere near the country’s biggest messaging platform — Tencent’s WeChat is — but it is one of the country’s biggest dating apps, with over 80 million daily active users. It’s also not just a dating site, as many events stream live on the service and friends use it to share videos amongst each other. It is, however, primarily used for dating.
There are a whole lot of single people in China.
The single, smart phone-owning public in China is massive. Momo’s 80 million+ users represents a mere fraction of potential users. Compare this to the estimated 50 million Tinder users (the company does not disclose exact users), and you’ll see that China’s dating market likely dwarfs that of the United States.
Momo is coming to America, but could it work here?
Momo is currently working on an English-language version of their app so they can launch in countries other than China. This means launching in America and possibly taking a nice chunk of Tinder’s market share. It’s worth noting that use and interest in technology differs between Chinese and American users. For instance, China has region specific features like AI-assisted age-guessing and face-transforming cameras that aren’t marquee features on American devices. While a video-based dating service sounds good on paper, it might not take off in the U.S.
Should you invest in Momo?
$MOMO is currently seeing absurd growth. The company’s first quarter revenue increased by around 630% in a single year. Their net income is $81.2 million, which is up from $7.1 million during the same time last year. The app also has 12.9 million more users than they did last year. Their stock is also up 126.81% percent since the beginning of this year.
Tinder’s parent company, Match Group ($MTCH), isn’t doing so bad either thanks to a 14.8% increase since the beginning of 2017. This is more than double the market average. Yet the publicly traded dating giant is slowly losing users to smaller, privately owned alternatives like Bumble, and could soon be in a world of hurt should Momo successfully launch in the States.
Dating apps and companies are pretty hot right now, though not nearly as talked-about and publicized as they were a few years ago. If you think these apps and companies are here to stay and will only grow further in the future, be sure to do your research before investing in either of them. If you feel the market will soon get saturated and see a decrease across the board, you might want to wait that out.