ather surprisingly, the hottest social media app in China at the moment is not Weibo, QQ, Tantan, or even WeChat, but one that specializes in connecting wealthy “sugar daddies” with wannabe “sugar babies.”
Following a meteoric rise, American dating app “SeekingArrangement” currently sits at the top of the charts for recent downloads among free social networking apps in China’s iOS app store. According to Quartz, the app reached this top spot after moving up a whopping 765 places.
Founded in 2006 by Singapore-born, MIT-graduate Brandon Wade, “SeekingArrangement” is the world’s premier “Sugar Daddy” dating site, claiming to have 10 million active members across 139 different countries with four “sugar babies” for every one “sugar daddy/momma.”
While the app’s business plan has often been criticized in countries around the world for exploiting young, naive women and for being little more than a prostitution service, SeekingArrangement claims that it is merely helping its users form “balanced” relationships on their own terms:
Where Sugar Babies enjoy a life of luxury by being pampered with fine dinners, exotic trips and allowances. In turn, Sugar Daddies or Mommas find beautiful members to accompany them at all times.
We want relationships to be balanced. We give our members a place for this to happen.
So, how did the app’s popularity’s suddenly skyrocket in China? Well, on Tuesday, the nationalistic party tabloid the Global Times published an article warning its readers that the infamous app had arrived in China, reporting that the company had been registered in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone in 2015 and had launched a Chinese website and app (甜蜜定制).
However, the tabloid’s warning appears to have achieved the opposite of the intended effect with Chinese web users rushing to download the app. “Thank you, Global Times. If you hadn’t have said, I wouldn’t have known,” wrote one Weibo user.
Meanwhile, a Btime.com video explaining the intricacies of the app has racked up millions of views:
Considering Chinese censors’ attitudes towards sex and social media, it would certainly seem likely that SeekingArrangement’s breakout success won’t last long. In an apparent attempt to win over China’s Net Nanny, the company has rephrased things a bit for its Chinese app, replacing “sugar daddy” with “successful man/woman” and “sugar baby” with “charming sweetheart.”