Sugar daddy dating app SeekingArrangement pulled from China’s app stores

The Chinese version of US sugar daddy dating app SeekingArrangement, dubbed “Tailored Sweetie in Chinese (甜蜜定制)”, was removed from the country’s iOS app store on May 25th (in Chinese). Meanwhile, the app was unreachable on multiple Android stores such as Tencent MyApp and 360 Mobile Assistant.

The controversial dating app, launched in October 2015 in China, recorded a quick spike in popularity in China over the past few weeks. It has taken over the top spot for free social networking apps and the fourth place on the general list last week, outperforming some of the country’s most popular networking apps like WeChat and Weibo.

Image credit: Huxiu

Created in 2006 by Singaporean-American Brandon Wade, SeekingArrangement is marketed as a money-for-love dating platform that only pairs rich men with attractive women. It claims to have more than 10 million active users worldwide. The site has been known for its toe-curling values, as shown in claims on its website “Money isn’t an issue (for the Sugar daddies), thus they are generous when it comes to supporting a Sugar Baby,” and “Sugar Babies get to experience a luxurious lifestyle, and meet wealthy people on a regular basis.”

To fit into the Chinese market, the platform uses “successful man” and “charming sweeties” to avoid making it too obvious what occurs on the platform. In addition, it claims the Chinese version has an independent and different positioning. The company aims to build a “high-end marriage and love social platform” for Chinese users, different from the sugar-dating market overseas, a SeekingArrangment spokesperson told online outlet Red Star News (in Chinese).

But the platform does have specific terms for registers. “Successful men” are expected to have a revenue of at least RMB 300,000 ($47,350) and a net asset ranging from RMB 600,000 to hundreds of millions RMB.

Although it tried to re-brand itself to a more neutral image in China, the site, which involves “compensated dating” is hardly acceptable to the country’s tightening censorship system. State-run media Global Times first fired shots on site by publishing a criticism editorial last week, triggering a deep probe into the company’s operations in Shanghai.

In response to the move, WeChat also issued a ban on the dating app, putting a blow on the service’s newly found popularity in China.

The recent buzz surround SeekingArrangement has brought the somewhat shady area to spotlight. Similar Chinese sugar daddy dating apps, though few in number, are facing the same regulation problem. Local startups in this area are adjusting their products to comply with the regulations.

“SeekingArrangement is a hook-up and call girl platform. Maybe it’s not illegal in some countries, it’s definitely immoral. We are strengthening the censoring system of user dialogues to fend against talks involve sex deals,” an industry insider told to TechNode after their SeekingArrangement-like service was taken down from app stores.