TikTok plays matchmaker for its employees

Do NOT show your HR manager this: In China, companies are adding “helping you find your one true love” to their benefits packages, alongside dental coverage and vacation time.  

Driving the news: Forbes unveiled that TikTok parent company ByteDance has an internal channel on its shared work tool called Meet Cute. It lets employees post photos of friends, family, and acquaintances and advertise them as potential romantic partners to co-workers. 

  • Despite a glitch that briefly made Meet Cute available to international workers, the forum was designed specifically for ByteDance’s mainland Chinese employees. 

How it works: Meet Cute posts are typically accompanied by info you’d normally find on dating apps, like height and weight — ok, maybe not your actual weight — and allow users to comment on potential matches. However, some workers feel it encroaches on boundaries.  

  • Unsurprisingly, inappropriate comments populate the forum (i.e. “My girlfriend is thinner than your girlfriend 😊”), which is what we’d call an outright HR nightmare.

Why it’s happening: Chinese workers are now working the most hours ever on record — 48.8 hours a week, compared to 37.8 in Canada. If workers are never able to leave the office to find that special someone, then it makes perfect sense to turn to the office for romance. 

  • Employers acting as wingmen are more culturally accepted in China. Until 2003, it was actually required to have your work unit (workplace) approve your marriage
  • Other major Chinese companies like Huawei and Alibaba also have internal dating forums, while Maimai (Chinese LinkedIn) is full of posts from lonely hearts

Bottom line: Don’t expect your Slack to have a dating channel any time soon. That said, with dating burnout becoming a real problem for singles, a shift to out-of-the-box romantic thinking — be it traditional matchmakers or AI companions — could be on the rise.—QH