Engaging factors in online dating platform

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 18 Jan 2018

PETALING JAYA: It’s a “student programme” that offers financial aid – but on a “sugar daddy” scholarship.

A Malaysia-based online dating platform is linking young women in need of financial support with rich, older men.

Calling it a “modern way to avoid student loan debt”, the app allows students who sign up with their university email address or show proof of enrolment to engage with “sugar daddies” on its website and app.

Despite raising more than a few eyebrows, over 75,000 users worldwide have joined the platform since it started in December 2016.

However, legal experts say it has not run afoul of any law by providing such matching services.

The app’s founder Chan, 30, stresses that the company does not condone any illegal activities on its platform.

“We have a team of 12 moderators. No minors, nudity or even vulgar language are allowed on user profiles,” he told The Star.

Open to individuals above 18, most users are from Malaysia (35%) and Singapore (30%), followed by the Philippines and the US.

“We are working on a few interesting features and planning to expand to Thailand, Indonesia and Hong Kong,” Chan said.

“Sugar babies” are mainly aged between 20 and 31, with most below 25, still in university and working as part-time models or promoters. Others are working executives, single mothers and divorcees.

Sugar daddies are usually aged between 30 and 42, with average annual incomes from US$100,000 (RM395,900) to US$300,000 (RM1.19mil).

Some are CEOs, entrepreneurs and professionals like bankers, lawyers and doctors.

There are also “sugar mommies” on the platform, who are aged between 35 and 50. They are predominantly divorcees, single mothers and businesswomen.

On the perception that sugar relationships boil down to money-for-sex, or even prostitution, Chan called this a common misconception.

“Sex is not a requirement in a sugar relationship. It’s not a one-time transaction. It is the foster-ing of trust, care and mutual benefits based on transparency,” he claimed.

He said sugar babies are free to choose who they want to be in a relationship with, and the lifestyle they desire.

While discretion is “the ultimate rule” in using the platform, Chan said it is up to the users to disclose their marital status.

“My personal opinion is if you’re married, you shouldn’t be on any dating platform, ” he said.

“I’m currently in a two-year relationship. She’s younger than me. People can label it whatever they want, but we are in a committed relationship,” he said.

The Higher Education Ministry is looking into whether any action should be taken over the website’s “student programme”.

“Until then, we advise students to only use legal and proper ways to finance their education,” said a ministry spokesman.

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