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Chinese-Americans Find Love on Specialty Dating Site

2RedBeans, an online dating site, is marketing itself to a very specific group: Chinese singles living abroad, and looking for love.
2RedBeans co-founder Q Zhao with her husband. The couple met on 2RedBeans in 2013.
2RedBeans co-founder Q Zhao with her husband. The couple met on 2RedBeans in 2013.Victor Zhang

“Like many entrepreneurs,” said 2RedBeans co-founder Q Zhao, “I started 2RedBeans with my friends to solve our own problems—finding dates which eventually lead to life partners.”

Founded in 2010, and modeled after JDate, a dating site for Jewish Singles, 2RedBeans is an online dating site for the Chinese diaspora or “Overseas Chinese.” It boasts almost 500,000 members, of whom 70 percent use simplified/traditional Chinese as their default site language, 30 percent were born in North America, and only 2 percent are non-Asian. It also has an algorithm that weeds out "Asianphiles" and accounts for Chinese cultural values such as date of immigration and highest level of education.

Zhao came to the United States from China for graduate school in Electrical Engineering at the University of California San Diego. Despite a large social circle, she and her friends found it difficult to meet compatible men because of language and cultural barriers. Mainstream dating sites, she says, didn't work.

“Although these sites do provide a large pool of candidates, many of them are not of similar background, since most Chinese are not on these sites," said Zhao. "In the US, 85% of ethnic Chinese still marry other Chinese, but there is no good platform to connect this group of people.”

“Both the process and the notion for dating in Chinese culture is quite different than those of the US and most of the western world,” Anita Tsai of 2RedBeans explained. “For example, many Chinese still consider ‘dating’ a much greater commitment than their US counterpart. Going out with more than one person is not socially acceptable for many.”

Does it work? Zhao says yes. She met her husband on 2RedBeans. They were married 99 days after their first date, and just had their first baby.