Match Group’s acquisition of Egypt’s Harmonica indicates a wider trend towards emerging economies
The recent exit of Egypt’s Harmonica, an Arabic-language based matchmaking website, through the acquisition by Match Group, the online dating giant, indicates a developing interest in tapping into the growing market of Asia and Africa.
Match Group has been keeping its acquisition details private, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that the details of Harmonica’s acquisition were not disclosed. The online dating giant from Texas also has two CrunchBase profiles, neither of which fully encompass the details, names, nor number of its acquisitions.
However, we know that Match Group’s investment in Harmonica follows the reorganisation of its international leadership team in April 2019, to double down on the market opportunities for products in Asia, which includes many countries that are predominantly Muslim.
As we think about international growth and expansion, there are huge populations of young singles — mostly across Asia and the Middle East — that will be looking for their life partners in the near future, and that are not properly served by Western products.Mandy Ginsberg, CEO of Match Group
According to multiple market reports, the online dating market in North America is stagnating, with most singles already on multiple platforms. While the market in Asia and Africa is booming with the increase in internet penetration, and the young population’s need for better ways of finding suitable matrimonial matches.
This need was also the driving motivation behind Harmonica’s establishment and growth. Sameh Saleh, the CEO of Harmonica said, “Two years ago, we founded Harmonica with our sisters, cousins, and friends in mind, with the goal of helping them find a perfect partner. It was critical that what we built was something to protect them and represent the values that our community cares deeply about. It was also important that our parents would be comfortable with them using our app. We’ve already facilitated hundreds of marriages just in Egypt and believe that with Match Group’s vast experience, there are exciting opportunities ahead.”
Match Group already owns Tinder, OKCupid, PlentyOfFish, Match.com, and many more. It also recently acquired Hinge — an app with similar functionality to Tinder, for those not looking for casual relationships — to plug the market space. It has already expanded to Japan with its acquisition of Eureka in 2015. Moreover, Tinder is bringing in more profits year-on-year with an expanding user base in the emerging markets.
According to statistics, the market is still expected to grow due to the shifting cultural ways of finding suitable life partners and increasing interest in dating in the emerging markets.
Match Group is Google’s equivalent when it comes to online dating. Their bullish acquisition style, reorganised strategy and race to capture market share in growing emerging markets will start to see Asian and African likes of Harmonica come under the Group’s umbrella in the months and years to come.