One of the most controversial startups entered China but only ended up with a quick death. It is SeekingArrangement, notoriously known as “Sugar Daddy”, an uber like “pay for play” social app bordering on the grey area of escort service, though sometimes it is sugar coating the brand as the tool of lessening the burden of your student loans.
If its Singaporean American founder considers the poor are delusional enough to invent the love concept, then he is nutty enough to think he could crack China. Not that he did not try to whitewash SeekingArrangment’s image, localize the wording of company goals and pivot to the idea of healthy yet high-end online dating app, as he still insisted on male users imputing their net worth and annual income, the bigger the number the better. Not that China could not be the most lucrative market for his business. The company had been operating under the “stealth mode” since 2015, but two weeks ago suddenly dethroned Wechat, becoming the most popular social app in the country.
The wild success caught regulator’s attention, immediately eradicated its presence and put SeekingArrangement under criminal investigation. It is said upon hearing this news many local “wannabe sugar daddies” started to stomp their feet and wail to the walls; some even complained they even did not get a chance of peeking how this thing works before it was completely wiped out.
Any business surrounding human’s basic instinct sounds like easy money, nevertheless China has always been very sensitive about these issues, not to mention recently the country has tightened its control and cracked down on any inappropriate content spreading into the internet, such as weibo, wechat, short video (see our past blog about it). The reputation of SeekingArrangment is simply too stinky to be tolerated in China.
Author: Cecilia Wu