A look Into The Next Big Thing In Korean Mobile Dating, Seoul-based Startup Chinchin Lunches Beta Service

CHINCHIN is a social dating app that is creating a new type of interaction for the dating scene by connecting you with friends of your friends. This in a bid to remove the dangers of connecting online with complete strangers. Recently at beLAUNCH, the company won the Asan Nanum Foundation Prize, and $18k as a non-equity cash investment.

With the increasing levels of spam on Facebook, people are now less willing to talk to strangers on the world's largest social network, and the platform is not suitable as a viable dating service. CHINCHIN wanted to utilize social networks and add a layer of security to the dating industry, through validation of friends of friends.

CHINCHIN faces a stiff level of global competition though, in order to capture a profit share of the $4Bn online dating market which is already dominated by the likes of Eharmony, Match.com and Zeus.

So why is this service different and how is it better?

CHINCHIN is essentially creating a spider web between you and your friends' friends.

According to a spokesman from CHINCHIN, the Korean dating market is lagging behind the US by about 5 years. When they visited a local girls university for example, none of the students were on a dating site (and if they were they were too embarrassed to say it). This demonstrates that online dating is not popular in Korea and that it is not yet socially acceptable, despite the fact that online chat services like UBLove have existed in Korea for over a decade, mostly targeting the formation of 'friendships' between western guys and Korean girls.

CHINCHIN encourages users to 'like' other members that they want to interact with. If they mutually 'like' each other they are introduced to each other through the platform. Not only is it providing a level of security to the online dating experience, but for many users, it's eliminating the fear of direct rejection, that often prevents people from signing up to such services in the first place.

The app has currently garnered 2,600+ beta users across their iPhone and Android versions, and 30% of users are active after 90 days, which is well above the average for similar services.

From time to time, I test Korean apps, from a US perspective, to see just how easy they are to use and to suggest cross-border, and particularly western, feasibility of the services.

CHINCHIN was surprisingly easy to follow. They immediately download your profile pics and link other friends who have installed the app. They then begin searching for matches. If there aren't any that emerge, the app encourages users to invite friends.

I was interested to understand how the app would deal with invitations, as first impressions count in this business... Well it imported the ENTIRE profile picture album. While this may be excessive for some I found it acceptable, as a millennial who has been using Facebook since it was an invite only network. Sometimes users forget what profile pics are at the bottom of the pile, but at least this method gives a reasonable impression of the person - you can understand a lot about someone by looking at five year's worth of Facebook profile pictures 🙂

While the wondering CHINCHIN does not forget your lost profile pictures, what they did forget was the handy dandy DELETE button. Yes folks, once you give CHINCHIN access to upload your whole Facebook profile picture album there is no way of deleting any of the images.

Things I tried to solve this issue:

1. Installing, un-instaalling, and reinstalling the app

2. Disconnecting the app from my facebook content and then deleting ALL undesirable pictures. Then reconnecting.

However, CHINCHIN programmers are so talented that their back-up database remembers all those awful pictures. There is NO deleting them.

While the app works well, this is an issue that could act as a big barrier to continued user acquisition. CHINCHIN, please for all the absent-minded women in the world, create a delete button. What I would suggest is that the startup hires a young woman to test the app to iron out this one small, yet powerful, issue.

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