[THE INVESTOR] Tinder wants to be more than an app for hooking up in Korea. Instead, it is hoping to build a community, according to its chief executive on Jan. 22.
“There isn’t just one culture for Tinder,” said CEO Elie Seidman during his first press conference in Korea. “What we see around the world is that the main thing you get is a reflection of the local culture.”
Tinder CEO Elie Seidman
In Korea, the culture Tinder wants to help mold is based on open communication made possible by forming and expanding networks for a broader experience, he noted.
Whether it is for matchmaking experience, or for something more, Tinder succeeded in becoming a sensation, primarily among the younger generation. Currently, the app is among Korea’s top lifestyle apps in terms of revenue.
The users are mainly millennials, at least four out of five, according to company estimates. This generation -- those born in the early 1980s to the early 2000s -- has emerged as Tinder’s target consumer group.
“Part of the reason why it has been so successful with young people is because it focuses on their experience of building friendships as many of them are still worried about (that aspect),” Seidman said.
The most frequently used words in the profiles of Korean Tinder users are “friend,” “workout,” “movie” and “travel.” It implies that users try to search for people with similar tastes, said Lyla Seo, regional director of Tinder in East Asia and head of the Korean office. “Tinder users can share their tastes and find friends who have things in common,” she noted.
Due to its rising popularity, Tinder is seeing the Korean language used more frequently than ever, which paints a different picture from a few years ago when most users were from overseas.
The fast-growing influence of K-pop could be another leverage for its pan-Asian expansion, as seen in cases where Korean TV dramas become a catalyst for business. When hosts in one of the episodes of Korean web TV series “Big Picture” used Tinder, there was a sharp rise in Tinder users in Vietnam where many are fans.
When asked how he would like to define Tinder -- as a dating app or a social media platform -- Seidman declined to place the app in any business category. He also said he doesn’t like to dwell too much on the competition.
“Thinking about competitors makes you think smaller,” he said.
By Son Ji-hyoung (firstname.lastname@example.org)