What do you do when your young app has 20 million users and you need a path towards monetization? Go local! That’s the approach that will be taken by Momo, China’s hottest flirting app, as revealed by its recent v3.0 beta. The dating app adds Foursquare-like listings and check-ins in the experimental update for iPhone and Android.
The new focus on local will come only to the Chinese version of Momo app – not the new global app – when it updates for iOS and Android later this month. The user-generated listings of local points-of-interest will rival those from Jiepang and Sina Weibo’s ‘Places’. Testing them out in the Momo v3.0 beta (pictured above), I notice that venues are restricted to those that are within a two kilometre radius.
Momo team member Zhang Ying explained the check-ins with reference to the startup’s more established rivals:
We do notice that Weibo and Jiepang appear to have done things we are going to do. Whereas I personally think that Momo’s check-ins and local listings will be more specific, featuring more interests-oriented and informative location-related feeds generated by users.
Indeed, the dating app already does have interest groups as a feature, so these will co-exist with the check-ins. The beta app also reveals that Momo will get Instagram-style photo filters. Looking ahead to the future, the listings could be a good way to make money from the app.
The English-language and globally-oriented version of Momo will not get check-ins to rival Foursquare anytime soon. “We want to keep the international version simple at this early stage,” explains Zhang Ying.
Momo isn’t the only location-based app that’s thinking of local venues, as Tencent’s WeChat (“Weixin” in Chinese) looks set to move into nearby daily deals and mobile payments if rumors are to be believed.