Why China’s Tinder-like dating app Momo launched a web version

Lately, there has been a trend for mobile social networking apps to launch PC apps or web versions. WeChat, Instagram, Whatsapp and Facebook have all launched desktop versions. Now, Tinder-like Chinese mobile dating app Momo has joined the trend, launching its web version on Wednesday.

Momo has basic instant messaging functions, with which users can send texts, pictures, emojis and voice messages. But it retains the functions of a social networking app for strangers, including online chat rooms and live broadcasting.

The system randomly recommends chat rooms for users to join. On the live streaming page, broadcasters engage with the audience by chatting or singing songs to them, while viewers can tip or send virtual gifts.

According to Momo’s statement, a web version of Momo fulfills a demand from its users, who want to keep in touch with friends while they’re at work. Another reason is that a bigger PC screen gives users a better viewing experience to chat and watch live broadcasts.

But perhaps the main reason for Momo to launch a web version is to draw more users to its live broadcasting business. Tang Yan, the founder and CEO of Momo, has made it clear that the company will make live streaming business another major source of income in 2016.

Momo introduced its live broadcasting platform for music, Momo Xianchang, last September, signing mostly professional musicians as contract singers. On top of that, it launched a social networking-driven live broadcasting platform, on which qualified users are allowed to register as broadcasters. As far as I can tell, a pretty face is the main criteria.

Photo from Huxiu.com.

Live broadcasting is quite a profitable business right now. Live streaming platforms such as Huya TV and Douyu TV are generating revenue by selling virtual gifts to viewers, who can buy them for their favorite broadcasters.

Launched in 2011, Momo claims to have more than 200 million users now, among which 85% are under the age of 32. Chinese research firm iResearch says Momo ranks third among all SNS apps in China. It was also the top-earning social networking app for three consecutive years, according to App Annie. Momo’s 2015 financial results released this month shows that its major revenue comes from paid VIP services and mobile ads.

Originally published at allchinatech.com on March 24, 2016.

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