The subway is a terrible place to meet people. In fact, any enclosed space makes for an uncomfortable venue to approach someone you fancy and start complimenting their hair or giving a synopsis of what’s happening in Hunger Games. But that’s not deterring a Chinese app called Zhantai.
It’s a dating app for iOS and Android with a surprising twist; a sort of social network for meeting people who commute the same way you do on the subway.
Zhantai – which literally means “platform” in Chinese – is a bit like other location-based dating apps out there, like China’s Momo. But Zhantai focuses on helping you meet people at two locations: around the subway station nearest where you live, and the one by where you work. Perhaps this’ll double your chance of getting a date. Of course, you don’t have to meet with these people during your commute – a coffee shop is a much better place for any real-world interactions you net from the app.
Zhantai claims to have 2.7 million registered users. After testing it out briefly, it seems to have quite a lot of registered users in my area, but not so many have been active in the past month; at least it has a good mix of twenty-something women and guys. Zhantai is free to use, but it sells in-app purchases, which are things like postcards that you can post to a social wall (I notice that only men are buying these in the app, perhaps in an attempt to stand out), and virtual presents that you can give to someone you like (I’m guessing it’s dudes who opt for those).
Some might have privacy concerns about revealing the subway station that’s closest to your home and workplace (which the app requires), but it’s perhaps safer than giving away your exact location, which is what dating apps like Momo do. One other concern with Zhantai is that it shows what time you reach these stations, so it’s perhaps a bit unsafe for users – especially women – to be revealing their daily commute schedule like that.
Rival app Momo has 80 million users right now, so there’s clearly a big market for hooking up China’s urban singletons.
See more: 6 dating apps from Asia
(Editing by Enricko Lukman)