Popularly known as “Sugar Daddy app” the dating services of SeekingArrangement suffered a major setback when China’s most popular social networking site WeChat discontinued it on Thursday, May 25th. The popular dating app lost its existence on WeChat platform which has more than a billion users. The online dating platform SeekingArrangement was launched in 2006 by Brandon Wade in the US and started its operations in China in 2015. It instantly became a very popular app in China and acquired 300,000 users in this small period of their operation. The numbers were seen to be soaring high with a rate of 20% increase in users every year. SeekingArrangement used to be the most downloaded app in China even surpassing WeChat. The “Sugar daddy App” is now believed to be encouraging “Dating for money” culture in the country by introducing rich old men to young and naïve women.
The app came into scrutiny when a newspaper called Global Times alleged in their article that the dating service app is organizing dates for sugar daddies in search of young girls who are looking for a wealthy partner. The article created a buzz and instantly became a talk of the town claiming 740,000 clicks. The term Sugar daddy refers to a man often older who financially supports their partner who is significantly younger. Such young partners are termed as Sugar Baby. In views of a criminal lawyer named Yi Shenghua, such websites and apps can be assumed to be running a prostitution business underneath the umbrella of a matchmaking site.
The Sugar daddy site asks its male users to state their financial condition while registering although they are not verified. Such information is not required for their female users. The male members also have to pay a fee but the female members have an option of free membership or a smaller membership fee. The company is targeting to get more female members so the male members can have more choices for matchmaking.
The Chinese government and their police are now investigating the issue. The company’s website is registered under the Shanghai Free Trade Zone as an Information Technology firm. During a dialogue with China Daily, an employee of SeekingArrangement explained that the dating site is designed as per the country’s norm and operates like the other dating apps and sites in China. He asserted that the company’s staff personally screen the profiles of the users and do not entertain uses of words like “Sugar Daddy” or any other malpractice through the website. However, the truth is yet to unfold.