China’s largest online dating site Jiayuan.com filed for an initial public offering, aiming to raise up to US$100 million. As the latest in a series of Chinese social network companies to apply for US listings, the company’s shares are expected to trade on the Nasdaq under the symbol “DATE”.
Established by Ms Gong Haiyan, the website targets single, city-dwelling adults and has a stated goal of “addressing the dating and marriage needs of China’s rapidly growing urban singles population”.
With more than 40 million registered users by the end of March, the security issues of online dating services, including use of fake names and nicknames, can not be ignored.
In one notorious case, after years of investing time and emotion into the relationship; four girls from Beijing discovered they were dating the same boyfriend and he was also a father. The man used four separate fake identities on Jiayuan.com to trick these unfortunate four girls. He posed as a millionaire from Hong Kong, a businessman, a prestigious university graduate and a British-born Chinese, to date these four girls separately and make excuses to cheat them out of money totalling RMB425,000 or USD$65,000!
Ms Gong Haiyan said, “Jiayuan’s anti-fraud team have never stopped trying to improve the security of the network and crack down on online fraud. Membership audit and verification of Jiayuan is very strict, aiming to be the most formal online dating site domestically.”
Today’s online dating industry generates over $4 billion revenue per year. There has been a proliferation of online dating websites around the world, such as Match.com, eHarmony, 2redbeans.com which is a website specifically for Chinese in America (previously covered). The Chinese online dating industry is really taking off now, with the younger generation of users, using internet as their main social networking tool. Brought up in a more conservative way compared to their Western counterparts, it’s more difficult for Chinese to approach strangers even if they find them attractive.
As more Chinese turn to the internet to find potential partners, let’s hope that Jiayuan will more effectively protect its shy users from heart-break and monetary loss.