Many apps are linked to user Facebook profiles, which makes it possible to roll out targeted advertising.
Some, like Paktor, the region’s most popular app with some 5 million registered users, offer in-app purchases: members can buy virtual gifts to potential sweethearts, as well as tickets to singles’ events organised by the start-up behind the app.
Another company that ties into a larger database (Successful Match), Asian Women Date (formerly Asian Chats) has a few unique features that few other Asian dating sites offer, such as greeting cards, news relevant to Asians, and several verification options to allow users to prove their income, age, education, and occupation.
What really makes this site stand out is the focus on interracial, heterosexual relationships only: Asian women and non-Asian men.
“The dating business has never had an issue with making money,” said Singapore entrepreneur Joseph Phua, who set up Paktor more than two years ago to cope with his own heartbreak.
For many users, like Manila resident Catherine Anunciacion, main appeal of these apps is their relative wholesomeness.
Manila office worker Catherine Anunciacion, 28, wanted new friends so she joined Peekawoo, a dating app made for women that emphasises fun and companionship - and nothing more.