Matchmaker not fazed by dating apps
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Matchmaker not fazed by dating apps

Kulchulee: Thais wary of red flags
Kulchulee: Thais wary of red flags

An executive from a traditional matchmaking business says her company is unfazed by the boom in online dating apps, as matchmaking caters to high earners who value privacy.

The National Economic and Social Development Council reported last month that 40.5% of people of reproductive age (15-49 years) were single in 2023, up from 35.7% in 2017.

Another socioeconomic survey found more than half of Bangkok residents are single.

"The country's sluggish economy and growing socioeconomic issues have caused some Thais to seek temporary pleasure," said Kulchulee Subsinudom Nylander, chief executive and founder of Bangkok Matching, a matchmaking company.

Ms Kulchulee said the attitude of Thais towards love and being in a relationship has changed.

Thai adults seem to have less tolerance for obstacles in relationships, leading to more frequent break-ups, she said.

Individuals know what they want and have a greater number of "red flags" they won't accept, said Ms Kulchulee.

The influx of online dating apps and social media also plays a major role in finding new partners, she said.

Thai college students also have a more open-minded view of one-night stands, while more young adults are opting for sexual encounters online, said Ms Kulchulee.

"Everyone has their own preferences, but if there are too many red flags, it can be harder to find a partner," she said.

Ms Kulchulee said the country's economic slowdown inevitably affected the matchmaking business, as economic woes dent investor wealth, some of whom are customers of Bangkok Matching.

In the first quarter this year, women from the Northeast made fewer calls to the company's call centre, falling by more than 10% year-on-year, she said.

"The company's performance was down by 5% in the first quarter because of fewer applications," said Ms Kulchulee.

She said more than 80% of Bangkok Matching's customers had used an online dating app before, but some had an unpleasant experience or were scammed.

The company focuses on high-income earners who demand a personalised service, which online sites cannot provide.

"We are not worried about the boom in online dating apps as we have an identity verification system, which online dating apps don't have," said Ms Kulchulee.

The majority of people applying to the company are aged 29 to 42, with nearly 40% of applicants Thai nationals, she said.

Ms Kulchulee said the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and its advanced matching capabilities would not replace traditional matchmakers, but rather benefit them.

Using AI for matchmaking requires applicants to submit all their personal information, including sensitive data, to the cloud for processing. This raises privacy concerns, as there is always a risk of a data breach, she said.

"The greater use of AI in matching apps, the more people will opt for traditional matchmakers, as they are concerned about their privacy," said Ms Kulchulee.

She said the pandemic transformed relationships, dating and sex.

People postponed plans for being in a relationship, but post-pandemic there is a huge backlog of people wanting to find a partner, said Ms Kulchulee.

Last year the company received the most applications in its history, including prior to the pandemic, she said.

"As the economy recovers, people will seek a loved one as love is still a basic need for humans," said Ms Kulchulee.

"This should benefit the company's bottom line."

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