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Baihe.com, one of the largest online dating sites in China, has announced RMB1.5 billion (about US$240m) in new funding from a group of local companies, private equity firms and security companies. Baihe CEO Fanjiang Tian recently hinted at a possible local IPO, ruling out a foreign listing like its direct competitor Jiayuan.com, that went public on the NASDAQ in 2011.

The first generation of dating sites, such as Jiayuan and Baihe, generated income through paid offerings, followed by YY (NASDAQ: YY), launched in 2013, which provides online dating services and generates revenue from virtual gifts.

In China dating is one of the most profitable online businesses, as you can see from China’s top revenue-generating mobile apps in 2013, number 1 and 7 were Jiayuan and Baihe respectively, while number 2 was location sharing app Momo, which is tacitly known as a dating app.

Baihe’s functionality also includes O2O services for the marriage retail industry, pairing customers with businesses. According to Baihe founder and CEO Fanjiang Tian, “A primary part of Baihe’s business is covering the comprehensive process from matching to marriage, providing  a one-stop-shop for love and marriage.”

“In the future, the Baihe website will not only be a matching service provider, but also extend to all business areas related to love and marriage, including consulting, consumer services, financial services and media offerings.” 

Launched in December 2011, Baihe (which means ‘Lily’ in English) is one of the first dating sites in China, now boasting 85 million lonely hearts. “Our next goal is to help 10 million couples marry through the service, creating the world biggest and best internet platform for love and marriage.” Tian added.

 Image Credit: Baihe