MOHAMMED AL SHAHRI WRITES– The continuous incorporation of information technology in daily life has contributed to the digitization of several aspects of human existence – including dating. This new form of relationship development has spurred a battle between dating apps in Asia.

Junseung Bae on the competition between dating apps present in Asia

Tinder, an app that essentially revived online dating in the US, is similarly popular in South East Asia. Other platforms like Beetalk, FlirtyDesires, and HookupsFinder along with some homegrown apps (ones invented and used in that locality) like Japan’s Tapple, and China’s Tantan have also taken off. Users in Singapore, Hong Kong, and even the Philippines have embraced this form of dating where they engage in virtual relationships before meeting in person. Notably, finding dates has become as easy as a single swipe.

People in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India have been employing matchmakers to arrange marriages similar to how dating sites help develop romantic unions. The system of “arranged marriages,” done through a third party, is replicated on these apps, with the platform connecting two strangers.

Online dating has become a lucrative business, with apps sometimes having subscription-based options, such as Tinder that charges $9.99 a month for a plus edition, and $14.99 monthly for gold. Although the app is free to use, the paid version allows the users a lot more freedom in terms of choosing desired locations, unlimited likes, etc.

The online dating apps that operate in Asia target individuals that wish to socialize and make meaningful relations in a private and safe way. Some of the apps also offer services beyond linking potential dates – for instance, the Mat & Minah app provides an events calendar for social mixers and a classifieds segment for networking opportunities.

These dating apps have contributed to making relations easier to develop; the challenge now is which app to use. Certain apps are designed for certain races, some require a membership fee, others have waitlists to be enlisted as an eligible candidate, etc. With so many options at our fingertips, the new dilemma in romance, it seems, is not just finding the right person, but also the right dating app.

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