An Introduction to Online Dating in China (for English speakers)

An Introduction to Online Dating in China (for English speakers)
Nov 29, 2018 By Degen Hill ,

Life is busy in China, and for many, trying to find love, romance or a relationship amid the hustle can be a challenge. Perhaps you find yourself relating to Johnny Lee’s classic, Looking for love in all the wrong places. If so, now’s as good a time as any to try online dating in China. In a country where almost everyone has a smartphone, your chances of finding ‘the one’ online are quite good. So, put your stigmas away and embrace the world of cyber dating with Chinese characteristics.

Photo: Santeri Viinamäki

The users

China is a big country with many different cultures, and the people who date online are just as varied. You’ll find a mix of foreigners, travellers, business people, Chinese people who’ve studied abroad, Chinese people who have never left China, and every kind of person in between. In general, online dating is for people who want the convenience of meeting someone without the inconvenience of having to go out and socialise all the time, endlessly waiting for the right one to walk into a bar.

If you’ve signed up for a dating app, you have a purpose. That purpose might vary slightly from person to person, but everyone, based solely on what the apps are designed for, wants to connect with someone else. The trick is finding someone who wants to connect at the same level you do.

The apps

Each online dating app markets itself as a general sort of dating app, but we all know that isn’t true. Each one has a personality, a type of user and a general means of use. So let’s go over the most popular online dating apps used in China.



User base – foreign men and women; Chinese men and women with good English, access to a VPN and have most likely studied abroad.

Purpose – Tinder was initially marketed as the “hook-up” app, and it still may be, but in general, it’s now used to connect with someone online, take them on a date and go from there. Most female profiles will say “No one-night stands, not interested in hook-ups”. Most male profiles won’t specify — go figure! 

Function – Swipe left (no) or right (yes), solely based on a person’s pictures. You’ll get a notification when someone you right-swiped swipes right on you. There’s a profile section limited to 200 characters but, let’s be honest, who reads those?

OK Cupid:

User base – foreign men and women; Chinese men and Chinese women with good English and access to a VPN

Purpose – OK Cupid seems to be a more ‘wholesome’ app, for those looking to settle down and get into a committed relationship.

Function - Unlike Tinder, OKC gives you a match percentage based on how similar two people’s profiles are. Maybe an algorithm can bring two people together, maybe it can’t. You’ll just have to give it a go.


User base – Younger Chinese girls and guys; foreign guys; maybe one or two foreign girls

Purpose – To meet people for a date. However, in my experience, it’s mostly an app for bored Chinese girls who want to chat with guys and nothing more. Be prepared for many Chinese girls to be, well, very Chinese. 95 percent of profiles include at least one picture with some kind of puppy filter, and 80 percent of profiles are entirely in Chinese. Most girls on Tantan don’t speak good English and are seemingly more interested in how many ‘likes’ they get than actually dating.

Function - Tantan works mainly via a location-based service by matching you with someone who’s been to the same places as you and has tagged similar interests and hobbies.

Honorable mentions Momo, Coffee Meets Bagel, Skout and Bumble

Rules of engagement

For guys, the first rule should be: be a gentleman. Women on dating apps tend to be apprehensive because, right off the bat, they’ll probably have received a dick pic or two and been rudely propositioned. So, just like if you were meeting someone at a bar, be polite, make jokes, get their Wechat, then make plans to go out together.

Some women will want to talk online more before going on a date, while others will want to meet right away. All women are different, so your approach to each match will have to be different as well.

Women tend to have it both easier and harder when it comes to dating apps. They’re generally the ones who get propositioned and sent inappropriate messages, but they also get a higher amount of ‘right swipes’ or ‘likes,’ so they have more options. In addition, men tend to be the first to message, so women don’t usually need to take that first step and ‘break the ice’.

It goes without saying though that women are more at risk when meeting strangers they’ve connected with on dating apps. Always do your best to suss out your potential date online before you meet in person, and always meet in a public place for at least the first few dates. Be sure you have a plan to get home quickly and safely if things aren’t to your liking.

Societal views

No matter how many people take part in online dating in China, there will still be that awkward moment where you’re not sure how to respond to, “So, where did you guys meet?” I think nowadays, if you’ve been hanging out with someone for a while and you introduce them to your friends, saying you met on Tinder or another app isn’t that big of a deal. However, you might not feel as comfortable saying that when she introduces you to her parents.

At the end of the day, no matter how you meet someone, the most important thing is the connection and chemistry between the both of you. If you meet someone on a dating app, who cares what society or your friends think?

Online dating in China will be different for everyone. Have you tried it? Any suggestions for people looking to start? Add your experience to the comments section below. 

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Keywords: online dating in China dating in China


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I am Kevin, I am here to look for love and happiness with that special lady for me, here are my contact ways: my WeChat: kkruger001. my QQ: 3407179703

Jan 16, 2019 15:32 Report Abuse



I need to online dating as i want to learn good China Language speaking from me to be a chinese friend.

Dec 19, 2018 17:27 Report Abuse



China Love Cupid seems to be the best option around and a guaranteed cert if used the right way ;)

Dec 04, 2018 10:23 Report Abuse



"The ''''Complete'''' Guide to Online Dating in China"... What a load of... While everyone knows that China's Tantan is full of attention seeking teenage girls (and those that think they are still a teen girl), you did not cover ANY of the big gun Chinese dating apps... These include: Momo (214mil users in China alone), Jiayuan (190mil users in China alone!), Blued (bi&gay), Baihe, and many newer entrants just starting to gather a userbase... So to use the word 'complete' (especially when two of your suggestions are foreign owned) is really poor writing... ----- 22/1/2019... I see you have now added: "for English speakers"... But actually, you should not be dismissing the Chinese sites... They are MUCH BIGGER, and full of wanting, panting, panty p....y!

Dec 01, 2018 20:55 Report Abuse