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.

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Eva Yoo

Eva Yoo is Shanghai-based tech writer. Reach her at evayoo@technode.com