When Chinese president Xi Jinping presided over the signing of an agreement by regional leaders to promote development of the Greater Bay Area—an innovation hub encompassing Hong Kong, Macau, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and seven other cities in Guangdong Province—in 2017, he perhaps did not foresee all of the results that would come about.
Two years later, Greater Bay Area residents have access to the mainland-Hong Kong high-speed rail link, a sea crossing spanning Zhuhai, Macau, and Hong Kong; a somewhat vague master development plan… and Wanqu, or Baymate.
The social app was launched by Shenzhen and Hong Kong-based Darelove Technology in June. Initially positioned as a dating offering, it also hosts user forums on regional shopping, food, and entertainment. On Tencent’s Yingyongbao Android app store, the app has been downloaded more than 1 million times. On the Apple China App Store, which has an updated version without a dating option, the app has racked up over 2,000 reviews, the vast majority of which are five star ratings.
Esma Toprak, global marketing team member at Darelove, told TechNode that the iOS version will feature a new “different and more creative” dating component in the future.
Browsing through the older Android version of the app, downloaded from Xiaomi’s Mi Store, TechNode found that the homepage was reminiscent of both shopping review platform Xiaohongshu and lifestyle app Dianping. Plus, after registering, users can jump right into a dating pool spread out across the Greater Bay Area.
Baymate is no Tinder copycat, however. In comparison to more casual dating apps, Baymate user profiles feature everything from height, weight, occupation, and hobbies to dating preferences—including a desired mate’s age, education, and salary level. It’s more on par with Chinese matchmaking site Zhenai.com, which offers similar filters for users to search out desired mates.
According to Toprak, the app’s methods for matching potential partners will change in the future.
Outside of dating, users can also browse public posts from other users and apply to join social groups based on alma mater, company, or interests, all which are based in the Greater Bay Area.
The company behind the app, Darelove Technology, was founded in December 2017. According to Toprak, users mainly hail from mainland China. That may be in part because the app is only available in simplified Chinese, while the traditional form of written Chinese is commonly used in Hong Kong and Macau.
An English-language, international version of Baymate that also makes use of location-based services will launch in 2020, Toprak said.