On the flip side, some people don’t take dating apps seriously at the start

He believes, “More ‘interesting souls’ are on Tinder because people who know how to access apps like Tinder in China are usually more open-minded or have lived overseas before,” but admits that it’s a generalization between him and his friends.

While explicit messages, catfishing and disastrous dates are part and parcel for many, Lauren from Xiamen highlights why persistence pays off.

After just over a year on Tantan, she found ‘the one.’ “I matched with the love of my life, and we are due to get married next year,” she tells us, adding that he moved across the country to be with her. But Lauren admits, “To find that good pingguo (apple), you’ve got to go escort Philadelphia through a few rotten ones first.”

She tells us that Chinese lesbians tend to be shy on dating apps and are less interested in “hooking up

Stacee from Shenzhen ended up in a long-term relationship with someone she used to casually respond to at first. “He’s the best thing to happen to me. He truly loves me for me.”

As we’ve learned over several discussions with dating app users, not all apps are made equal. Barbara from Fuzhou tells us that while Jimu is common among younger, diverse crowds, they’re less likely to be taken seriously. With that said, “You can definitely find the right one too if it is destiny,” says Barbara.

In her personal experience as a lesbian in China, she notes that Jimu users generally use code words to signal their sexual orientation. ”

Soul, on the other hand, offers a promising user interface with multiple functions to meet the user’s needs, according to Sylvia from Guangzhou. 

“You can match by sound. If you like the other person’s voice, you might end up liking the other person, while if you don’t like their voice, you can pass. If a person’s voice is nice, I will have a good impression of them, whether it is a guy or girl.” Additionally, Soul offers a group chat function.

Sylvia also mentions Hood, a relatively new app that can match people by dressing style. “Different dressing styles can show different personalities. Some people will see whether the other person’s fashion style matches their own,” says Sylvia.

Some have found dating apps to be a great way to make friends as well. Liz from Shanghai admits that she found her best friend on Tantan. Despite suspicions of “getting scammed or just meeting tons of guys who wanted to ‘ride the horse’,” she found a local with excellent English skills. 

After many dates, he returned to Beijing for work, but neither was ready to end things so they remained friends. Liz told us, ”If you are a normal person that just wants to try a Chinese dating app, don’t rule out meeting someone you will actually like on one.” 

“The app helped me save time that I might have otherwise spent trying to find out if I was compatible with someone”

Albert in Shanghai admits that he quickly learned to use Tantan for language exchanges instead of dates because he personally found the cultural differences too great. 

 “The app helped me save time that I might have otherwise spent trying to find out if I was compatible with someone. I realized I wasn’t comfortable being asked to define the relationship too early and felt awkward on dates but enjoyed the opportunity to connect to people,” says Albert.

While dating apps have facilitated a proliferation of relationships that likely wouldn’t have taken hold in the real world, there’s also a darker side to the world of online dating.