NEW YORK TIMES - China has cracked down on many tech companies, but has allowed dating apps that provide social connections to flourish. The number of dating apps in China with over 1K downloads soared to 275 this year from 81 in 2017, according to data.ai. Downloads of the apps have increased, as have in-app purchases. Investors have also poured ~$5.3B into dating and social networking companies in the country last year, up from $300M in 2019, according to PitchBook. Zhang Lu, the founder of Soul, a dating app backed by Tencent, has said that "loneliness is the core problem we want to solve." In July, Soul filed for an IPO in Hong Kong after tripling its monthly active users to 31M between 2019 and 2021.