From WeChat to Momo, China’s social networking craze is non-stop. Tantan, the country’s top dating app, announced today that it has raised a US$ 70 million worth in a Series D, raising the startup’s total fund raised to US$ 120 million. NASDAQ-listed online social entertainment firm YY Inc and Genesis Capital lead the round with participation from SAIF and Zhongwei Capital.
Founded in 2014, Tantan is a location-based social search mobile app that facilitates communication between mutually interested users. The Chinese app almost identical to Tinder, down to its UI which lets users swipe left and right for potential matches.
Wang Yu, CEO of the Tinder-like app, stated that the company will keep polishing the product for better user experience, and hopefully release VIP membership service in Q3 of this year. Offering free services previously, this will be the first time for Tantan to try out commercialization efforts. The app chooses to monetize through membership. In contrast, Tinder’s commercialization effort mainly takes the form of a paid version in Tinder Plus.
Wang also revealed that Tantan will explore artificial intelligence technology and expand to new markets in the future in an attempt to enable more accurate and personalized social experience.
Rumors about this funding have been swirling for at least a week. Speculations around a possible IPO were widely talked by local media. The current announcement made the news official, but the firm keeps a moderate tone on its IPO plan.
“We do not have a specific timetable for IPO. Going public or not is largely determined by the development stage of our core businesses. Currently, we will put our primary focus on user growth. When you have tens of millions daily active users, IPO would become a natural step,” a spokesperson told TechNode.
Investment from YY, an pioneer in China’s live streaming boom, also raises speculation about whether Tantan is going to integrate live streaming services to its swipe-based dating business. After all, Momo has already shown that this works with the LBS dating app gaining momentum with a flourishing live-streaming service.
However, it seems that live-streaming is not an option for Tantan now. “We do not have plans to integrate live-streaming features in the near future, our foremost task now still centers around social networking business,” the spokesperson said.
Tantan now claimes 90 million registered users. Excluding the fake and banned accounts, the number of valid users boils down to 60 million, roughly the size of the population of Italy. Among them, “post-90s” account for more than 75%. The DAUs reached 6 million and the second-day return rate is around 75%. Users have made over 3 billion matches in total, the firm disclosed.
The male/female ratio of Tantan’s users is around 6:4, which is actually more balanced than other apps with ratios of 8:2 or even 9:1. The huge gender imbalance in China has made male users a predominant group for most dating apps, who usually account for 80 percent or even 90 percent of the user base. Most users are young professionals living in first-tier and second-tier cities in China.
“Great unfulfilled needs lie in the area of social networks connecting strangers,” said Peng Zhijian, founder of Genesis Capital, “We have great confidence in the Tantan team. They have acute insights and understanding about mobile products, young people and social networking. We believe Tantan will continue with the rapid growth and bring us bigger surprises.”
Previously, Tantan raised a US$ 5 million Series A round in 2015, then completed a US$ 13 million series B round from DCM, KPCB, GX Capital and LB Investment that same year. DST Global, Vision Plus Capital and LB Investment led a US$ 32 million series C round in the app in May 2016.