"In India, you need to have a reference to speak with anyone," Sagar Datta, a 24-year-old interior designer who has met at least 20 people, both men and women, he was introduced to through an app.
"I never imagined strangers would be open to meeting strangers, just by looking at pictures of each other." App developers are seizing on what they see as enormous potential in India, where half of the 1.2 billion population is younger than 25 and smartphone sales are projected to surge 67 percent this year alone.
The success of social dating apps may be somewhat surprising in India, a deeply conservative country where arranged marriage is still the norm and marrying outside of one's religious or ethnic community is often frowned upon.
But youths raised during an era of economic growth and modernization are eagerly embracing Western ideas, and increasingly willing to risk scandal to do so.
Whitney Wolfe, who co-founded Tinder before leaving to launch the app Bumble, said designing platforms that give women more control work in any country, not just India, where men traditionally take the lead.Mendiratta is one of hundreds of thousands of young Indians nervously exploring online dating apps - and breaking with India's centuries-old traditions governing marriage and social conduct.(AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal) "We realized verification, security and privacy are very important" to women, Bhatia said. They like to join an app where they can be sure that you will not have married men, stalkers or folks like that." His company includes special features to reassure women the company has their best interests in mind.But because dating is still widely seen as a social taboo in India, "it is very difficult to get girls in India to start using a dating app," said Sachin Bhatia, co-founder of India's Truly Madly.Success also requires navigating extra security concerns, developers said.
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