China’s most beloved service for meeting strangers is finally available for international flirts, as this week location-based chatting service Momo has released their newest language installment for international users.
Since its founding in 2009, Momo has managed to capture a vital market in China for dating and meeting other people through mobile services. It is common for people to prefer this way of meeting others, as cultural norms make indirect contact more comfortable in Asian cultures. Since their founding, they have attracted more than 16 million users in Greater China in more than 500 cities.
Surprisingly, only 50% of their user-base comes from large cities like Beijing and Shanghai, indicating that a significant part of mobile users in second tier cities and other areas of China are keen on using the service. This follows a growing trend of smartphone adoption in China, which is now the largest market in the world, accounting for 26.5% of smartphone shipments this year (according to IDC).
Momo makes it easy to find people nearby, and it is often an excellent tool for singles interested in romance. Profiles commonly include information about age, occupation, education, habitually-visited places, hobbies and self-introductions. After an initial greeting message, users can choose to accept or ignore contact.
The Chinese version ties in with several social networks including Sina Weibo, Douban and Renren. The English version links with Facebook, and company sources say they are also considering adding Twitter and other social media to the mix. Momo English will have a redesigned UI more suitable for US users, and there may also be a new group chat service.
The English version is already available on Apple Store, and according to company sources, it will be available on Android in two months. Momo currently has no US office, however they are seriously considering this move in the future.
Considering that their app has already spread so quickly in China, and also in light of the success of Tencent’s “WeChat” in other markets, Momo should catch on quickly abroad as mobile social networks become increasingly relevant and prevalent in the market. It’s great fun!