Firms that target singles could be hot new bets

December 11, 2014 17:43
Online dating app Momo has quickly won millions of users among lonely young people in China. Photo:

With a growing number of singles in many cities, new business opportunities are being thrown up around the world.

That is the case even in China, which is why investors should seek out companies that target singles, columnist T Y Ko wrote in the Hong Kong Economic Journal Thursday.

One can take a look at Momo, a popular online dating app in China, which currently has 180 million users. The company has catapulted into the third place among Chinese social networks in just three years since its 2011 launch, trailing only Tencent's QQ and WeChat platforms, Ko noted.

The Alibaba-backed firm is now looking to raise US$216 million through an initial public offering in the US.

Momo is unlike other instant messaging software, but more like a mixture of WhatsApp, Facebook and Ashley Madison.

The software has particular strength in location-based service, which allows users to connect with people near them, by sending messages, photos or video-chatting, based on their proximity to each other.

Momo is also regarded as the top hook-up app on the mainland, although the company has tried hard to whitewash such public image. It has become so hot among lonely young people who live far away from their hometowns to build their careers.

China's fast urbanization has driven hundred of thousands of young people to cities, and they usually struggle in their daily lives and stay in small rented places. Most of the time is spent in pursuing a career, therefore it's not easy for many to have a relationship, let alone a family.

Thus, a dating app can capitalize on this and fill a need. 

Another company that aims to tap into the lucrative "singles" market is Xiabuxiabu Catering Management, a Chinese operator of hotpot restaurants. The firm, which plans to list its shares in Hong Kong next week, will cater to singles by offering smaller-sized hot-pots.

Currently, singles-hotpots contribute as much as 70 percent of the firm's revenue. The company has 250 chain stores in Beijing alone, as the capital city has a large number of single young people who are chasing their dreams there.

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Freelance journalist