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Dating Apps Thrive in China, but Not Just for Romance


When Qu Tongzhou, a photography assistant in Shanghai, set out on a long-awaited trip to western China in June, she found the cities she visited to be unwelcoming. As an aftereffect of the country’s “zero-Covid” policies, locals were leery of travelers, and some hotels refused Ms. Qu, fearing she could introduce the virus.So Ms. Qu turned to Tantan and Jimu, two popular Chinese dating apps with Tinder-like features. She was aware of the risks involved in meeting strangers, but the apps yielded a wellspring of new friends, including a biotech entrepreneur in the city of Lanzhou, a Tibetan doctor in the town of Xining, and a public official in Karamay, a northwest city of Xinjiang. At each stop, her matches provided lodging and took her to bars and other local spots.“If I didn’t use these apps, I wouldn’t have met many people,” Ms. Qu, 28, …

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