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Friday, September 11, 2015, 08:49

Love at first click

By Agnes Lu

Love at first click
A survey by dating app Coffee Meets Bagel found 62 percent of Hong Kong women find dating in the city difficult, compared to only 45 percent of men, and the SAR’s lopsided gender ratio of 858 men to 1,000 women may be to blame.

Dating and the city

Hong Kong is a buzzing city, a highly urbanized hub where money talks. But its young professionals often pay a heavy price for their high-flying careers. They are often left too busy to look for love.

Little wonder then that both Coffee Meets Bagel and LunchClick launched their apps in the city this year, with this captive singles market waiting to be explored.

No doubt the high Internet penetration rate in the city is the main trigger for dating app firms making a beeline to carve out market share. According to data from the Office of the Communications Authority in May, the mobile subscriber penetration rate in Hong Kong was 228.4 percent, involving more than 16 million subscribers.

Coffee Meets Bagel’s data also show that among the seven million people in Hong Kong, about two million are Facebook users aged between 21 and 40 who state their relationship status as single or leave the slot blank.

Tommy Tse Ho-lun, assistant professor of Sociology at the University of Hong Kong, believes the openness of Hong Kong society has endowed the city with an ideal and comfortable matchmaking environment.

“The ubiquity of mobile technology, a very educated population, stressful work life and long work hours, relatively satisfactory level of gender equality in the workplace and social life are all connected to the fact that dating apps have a huge market potential here,” he said.

In terms of general acceptance of online or mobile dating, LunchClick found that in Hong Kong, over 30 percent of singles surveyed online said they will try online dating to look for love, while more than 20 percent said they prefer mobile dating apps. But more than half are more inclined to go by friends’ recommendations.

According to Coffee Meets Bagel, 60 percent of online daters in Hong Kong intend to look for relationships on the apps, while 20 percent seek new friends. More than 90 percent are willing to meet up if they match with someone online. Interestingly, its survey revealed both men and women in Hong Kong rate physical attractiveness very highly when it comes to seeking a date online, but with men at 93.6 percent far outstripping women on this demand at 69.9 percent.

However, will men’s distinct preference for good looks, together with the fact that the city has more women than men, skew single ladies’ chances of landing that perfect boyfriend or husband?

Tse, analyzing from a sociological perspective, considers it too simplistic to worry about the gender ratio affecting people’s chances of finding love.

“Apart from heterosexuals, there are homosexuals, bisexuals, asexuals, etc. There are also people with different views and expectations toward relationships and marriage,” he said. “I think it’s not just the gender ratio that affects the dating ecology, but our beliefs in traditional relationships, opportunities of having extra-marital affairs, changing gender politics, desires for other things such as career achievements, and so on.”

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