43% of Chinese nationals have used internet dating

43% of Chinese nationals have used internet dating
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Baihe (百合网) and Jiahuan (纪佳缘) are the highest scoring dating services in fame and respectability

One of the founding ideas of the internet was its potential to eradicate isolation, and yet some people claim it has achieved the opposite. In terms of romance the story is more promising – it might never have been easier to find a date, and as social stigma around internet dating fades there's every reason to believe the trend will continue.

54% of Chinese nationals know at least one couple who met online

New YouGov research reveals the scale of the phenomenon in China. As many 43% of Chinese nationals have used internet and online dating apps. Usage is seemingly more prominent among men, with 48% of men using online dating services compared to 37% of women.

Yet nearly two-thirds (62%) of those polled say they would be embarrassed to admit that they had met their partner through online dating services/apps. This rises to 70% among millennials and falls to 33% among baby boomers.  However, half of all respondents say they would not think of a couple that met online any differently.

46% know at least one couple who have met this way. This rises to 54% among millennials and falls to 38% among baby boomers.

Momo (陌陌) and Tantan (探探) are seen as the least respectable online dating services

Momo (陌陌) has often been considered China’s leading dating app. But among people who've used internet dating services and apps it seems to have a seedy reputation. Despite being known to 92% of respondents it has a net respectability score of -14 among those who have previously used online dating services. Tantan (探探), a dating app that uses a swipe-based interface, also scored just low (-6), with more users of internet dating services deeming it not respectable than respectable. Both services are the lowest ranked for respectability of all dating services polled.

On the other hand, services such as Jiayuan (世纪佳缘), Zhenai (珍爱网) and Baihe (百合网) have the best reputation for respectability – and they're also among the most widely-known.

Online dating was worth an estimated $1.6 billion in China in 2016 alone, with Momo (陌陌) boasting 180 million registered users nationwide. However, half (46%) of Chinese love-seekers who have used internet dating would still prefer to meet their future partner via offline dating services, suggesting that internet dating services still have a long way to go before they can fully shake off their stigma.

*Data was collected online between 11 and 28 September 2017 using YouGov’s panel of over 5 million people worldwide. It was weighted to be representative of the online population. Sample size: 1,012

Photo source: Getty Image / Zerbor