China: Tinder-esque app ‘Tantan’ gets $32m in funding as it hits 2.5m users

CASUAL dating in China is usually perceived as nearly impossible, but dating app Tantan is proving otherwise, having hit 2.5 million active users and raking in US$32m in funding.

The app, which seems identical to popular dating app Tinder, raised the huge sum of money from a group of investors, including DST Global which is headed by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, who has investments in big companies such as Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter.

According to Technode, Milner’s investment portfolio also includes Chinese transport network Didi Chuxing, and Chinese electronic company Xiaomi.

A PR spokesperson for Tantan told Technode the funding is intended for improving on user “pain points”, daily usage and to solidify their position in the “social application industry”.

The company, founded in 2014, claims to have 2.5 million active users, with a male to female ratio of 6:4. 80 percent of their users were born in the post-90s, reflecting a changing attitude towards casual dating in the younger generation.

While the interface and usability of the app is extremely similar to Tinder – even down to the color profile – Tantan appears to be holding its own. However, the Beijing-based app came under fire in 2015 when multiple security risks were found, including alarmingly easy access to users’ personal details.

The interface for Tantan is nearly identical to that of Tinder. Image via Technode

The interface for Tantan is nearly identical to that of Tinder. Image via Technode

Technode reports that Hong Kong-based entrepreneur, Larry Salibra, found the risks by reverse-engineering the app. He discovered a lack of encryption and a list of censored erotic keywords, such as “meet for sex?” and “nude photo”.

Salibra wrote in a blog post in 2015: “Thanks to the Ashley Madison hack, we’ve all seen what happens when dating services get compromised and information assumed to be private leaks out into the open: relationships suffer, people get stalked or blackmailed and some even feel the need to end their lives.

“Tantan’s negligence in not using basic, industry standard, easy to deploy HTTPS encryption means that their service doesn’t even need to be hacked for this same information to make it out into the public,” he added.

CEO and co-founder of Tantan Yu Wang responded to Salibra promising to address the issues.

Tantan plans to explore how it can monetize the app – it is currently free and has no in-app purchases – once it has hit seven to 10 million active users, which it is expecting to do by the end of 2016.