Chinese Dating Web Site Grooms New Pay Model

In China, where Internet users often expect freebies, individual members of an online dating service are exchanging dozens of love notes every day at 30 cents a pop.

Online dating is “quite fun,” said Nick Yuan, a 34-year-old computer technician from Shaoxing, China, who signed up for Jiayuan.com International Ltd. to meet new people after his divorce. During his first few months on the site, Mr. Yuan received about 30 messages a day.

“‘IT technician’ seemed to be an appealing job,” he said. Most of the women who contacted him asked about his salary and whether he owns a home.

Mr. Yuan is among roughly a million users a month who pay to exchange messages on Jiayuan—signaling a shift for some Chinese Internet companies toward generating revenue from user fees and subscriptions rather than from typical, and highly competitive, advertising.

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