In the 1990s, cafés and coffee shops sprung up in Indian cities, and made it easier for young people to meet and date in public spaces.

The cultural ideal for middle-class Japanese

Sexual harassment is a crisis outside the middle-class areas of India, where aggressive public behavior toward women, such as cat-calling, leering, and even groping is ubiquitous, says Harleen Singh, an associate professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies at Brandeis University. “Any woman who has been in a public space, unequivocally, has been sexually harassed,” she says.

In its effort to make the gay and transgender community more at ease, Tinder rolled out an extended list of gender options in November, after consulting with an organization called The Humsafar Trust, which advocates for LGBTQ rights. Meeting people organically can be hard for gay people in India, where heterosexual mingling dominates public spaces in cities. In this sense, apps could be democratizing for marginalized communities, Sadana said.

Leaving it to the locals in Japan

Tinder doesn’t translate as easily in Japan. The app is associated with less committed relationships, and casual sex is stigmatized in that country. So, Match is relying on another, more conservative, dating app.

In 2015, Match acquired that app, Pairs. It focuses on serious relationships and fulfills the traditional mentality that couples will get married. Emu Nishiyama, Pairs’s brand director, said 80% of Japanese people still want to marry, but only slightly more than 50% of Japanese men have been in relationships. “There’s a gap between what they’re willing to do one day, and where they are today,” she says.

Because the Japanese have notoriously heavy work schedules and use cell phones at high rates, online dating answers a lot of needs, she adds. There’s also more of a willingness to pay for matchmaking apps.