Are Dating Apps Best for Chinese, Foreigners to Pair Up?

What dating apps or websites should I use? That’s the question a young Chinese man, who was looking to meet women from Western countries, posed to me recently.

But it’s also worth asking, are dating apps the best way for Chinese and foreigners to find love together?

Before we get to that, however, let’s consider what dating apps you might want to use.

Tinder remains one of the most popular options globally, so if you’re someone Chinese looking to meet a non-Chinese woman, then you should consider it, along with a few other possibilities:

If you’re looking for the best dating app to use worldwide, Tinder is currently probably your best bet. Coffee Meets Bagel and Bumble seem to be on the rise as well, but in terms of sheer volume, Tinder, PoF[Plenty of Fish], Match and Badoo seem like the biggest players in the current dating app game.

Disclaimer time – I’ve never used any of these apps, as I’m happily married! But you can give them a try. Just make sure you have a VPN in China, as some apps, notably Tinder, are blocked. (Note: if you need a VPN, one option is Vypr VPN – I’m an affiliate, so your purchase helps support this site.)

For non-Chinese individuals looking to meet someone Chinese, you should definitely give Tantan and Momo, the Chinese dating apps, a go, as well as WeChat.

Yet, should you depend on dating apps to deliver that Mr. or Ms. Right? It depends.

Here’s what Ms. Wai of WWAM BAM had to say about dating apps from her experience in China:

Last time I advised girls to try dating apps to meet guys, but that won’t work well the other way around. Few foreign women are on the dating apps and the ones that are are overwhelmed with requests (I had 24,000 “likes” on tantan before I turned it off.) If you really want to use an app, get a VPN, a Facebook account and try Tinder. But that will still be a challenge.

In other words, foreign women in China may have an easier time finding love through dating apps than Chinese men.

I should also note that Asian men in Western countries tend to have a harder time finding love online as well, though some have found success despite the odds.

Nevertheless, Ms. Wai recommends meeting people face to face in China, suggesting:

There must be neighborhoods, or cafes, foreigners hang out at. Or join some activities where foreigners are sure to be at like Toastmasters, English Corner at the university, or Hash House Harriers. Check online for where and when those groups meet. If you join international activities you’ll get to do something fun and have a chance to meet a lot of people, including women.

This is the same kind of advice I doled out almost a decade ago, and it still holds true. Check out my suggestions for meeting women in China and my suggestions for meeting women in America.

It’s definitely NOT fair that Chinese men might have to “pound the pavement” a bit more to find love. (Maybe you can keep in mind that saying in Chinese: 好事多磨 (hǎoshìduōmó), or good things never come easy.)

Then again, as Ms. Wai notes, even the foreign ladies need a little chutzpah:

I know, it’s typically the guy that makes the first move, but in China, you’ll need to be a bit brave in making your intentions clear. Even if you are over-the-top flirting you might lose a little self-confidence because you feel like it’s not being reciprocated. Most of the time the guy seriously has no idea. They think you, a special butterfly, would never like just a “normal” guy like them, so they don’t pick up any hints you’re giving them. The dating world in China isn’t a good place for subtlety. Use your courage!

What’s your take? What dating apps would you recommend, and should people use them to find love?

P.S.: If you’re looking for more ideas on dating apps, read this guest post Single and Abroad? Here’s What You Need to Know About Dating Apps in China.

Photo Credit: Sweet Couple by Paško Tomić via Flickr.

Guest Post: Single and Abroad? Here’s What You Need to Know About Dating Apps in China

If you’re single in China — and interested in using dating apps to meet people — this guest post is for you. Nicolas Chan, a communications professional based in Shanghai, gives you the scoop on dating apps in China.

Do you have something to say about dating in China — or another guest post that would fit this site? Check out the submit a post page to learn more about how to have your words published here.

(Photo by Henry via

These days, dating and sexuality in China are big news. HIV, sex education and abortion were at the forefront of last November’s popular Economist article “Dream of the Bed Chamber.” But there’s also a softer side of the story, as described in an article published last month by 1843, the Economist’s new culture and lifestyle publication.

In “Whan, Bam, Tantan,” 1843 journalist Alec Ash describes China’s changing attitudes toward dating and casual sex – spurred on in part by an explosion of Chinese dating apps.

As a foreigner living and working in China, I’m intimately familiar with the apps that Ash describes. I’ve met locals on Tantan, wooed fellow expats on Tinder, and tried my best to meet that special someone on the overwhelming large, multi-faceted Momo.

Dating apps in China might resemble their Western counterparts, but the rules of engagement can be completely different.

In Western countries, Tinder is a popular tool for one-time hookups. In China, however, this is not the case. As Ash explains in 1843, Tinder is linked to Facebook, which just so happens to be banned in China – giving the app little foothold in the mainland. Instead, mobile users looking to make a connection will choose Tantan. And when I say “connection,” I’m not being euphemistic. Few online daters in China are after one-night stand. They want a new friend, or a basketball partner, or even a spouse – especially if they are one of China’s more than 20 million single men.

The way in which men and women interact on dating apps is also different than foreigners might expect. Women in China rarely describe themselves on an app or post lifestyle pictures that offer insight into their hobbies or interests. Instead, they opt for touched-up selfies and a blank profile – the idea being that if a guy is interested, he’ll make the effort to learn more.

Indeed, he probably will. The plethora of single men in China is a result of sex-selective abortions in the 20th century, and dating apps offer an exciting new avenue for these “bare branches” to find a partner. I’ve looked at far fewer men’s than women’s dating profiles, but I have no doubt that the 1843 article is correct in its findings that men on dating apps in China try to overcome the gender gap by exaggerating their salaries or showing off their flat or car.

Whatever you’re looking to get from your dating app experience in China, I recommend keeping an open mind. Dating apps are a great way to make friends from different industries and different walks of life. Just remember that if you’re on the app, there’s a good chance someone you know will be on it too – so if you don’t want your office mates gossiping about your dating profile, don’t post anything that would make Betty in Marketing blush.

Nicolas Chan is a communications professional based in Shanghai. In this guest article he takes us on a tour of the local dating landscape and offers pointers to those hoping to ‘swipe right’ in China.

Speaking of China is always on the lookout for outstanding guest posts! If you have something you’d like us to feature, visit the submit a post page for details — and then submit yours today.