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Match Group restructures exec team with focus on Asia

Tinder parent company Match Group, also the owner of a suite of dating apps including OkCupid, Meetic, Match, PlentyofFish and others, announced this morning plans to restructure its leadership team in order to better focus on the market opportunities for dating apps in Asia. Specifically, the company has appointed three new general managers in Asia to focus on areas like Japan, Taiwan, India, South Korea and other parts of Southeast Asia.
The company explains its decision has to do with the potential it sees for growth outside the U.S. and Europe, where there are more than 400 million singles, two-thirds who have not yet tried a dating app.
One of the new GMs is Tokyo-based Junya Ishibashi, who has been CEO of Match Group’s Eureka business in Japan. He now becomes the general manager of Match Group for Japan and Taiwan.
Taru Kapoor, who’s based in Delhi, will be GM of Match Group India. And Seoul-based Lyla Seo, who previously served as regional director of East Asia for Tinder, is now GM of Match Group for South Korea and Southeast Asia.
Meanwhile, Alexandre Lubot, who has served as both CEO of Meetic and CEO of Match Group EMEA & APAC since 2016, will remain CEO of Match Group EMEA & APAC. He will oversee the brands across Europe, the Middle East and Asia, with the three general managers reporting directly to him.
Meetic, which is Match Group’s European dating app, will now be overseen by Matthieu Jacquier, who has worked as a CPO with the company for a year. Alongside Jacquier, Elisabeth Peyraube will now take on a new role of COO & CFO of Match Group EMEA & APAC.
While Match Group plans for growth across Asia, India has been of particular importance, especially as rival dating app Bumble entered the country last year, where it tapped actress, celebrity and Bumble investor Priyanka Chopra to advise its expansion.
Tinder has also tried to cater to its Indian users with the more recent launches of expanded gender options in its app, and the Bumble-like “My Move” feature, which allows the women to chat first.
However, Tinder’s strategy in India needs to differ from here in the U.S. where it’s now promoting the young, carefree and often less relationship-focused “single lifestyle.” In India (as well as in China and other markets), dating apps today still face challenges due to cultural norms. That’s led to an unbalanced ratio between men and women using the apps in India, a report from The Wall Street Journal found. And when women join, they’re overwhelmed by the attention they receive, as a result.
These issues will require Tinder to adapt everything from its marketing and advertising messages to even its product features in order to better cater to its Indian users. And it requires someone who fully understands the market to lead.
“Taru was originally hired to grow Tinder in India, but a little more than a year ago we increased her responsibilities to oversee the growth of other Match Group products in the country,” said Mandy Ginsberg, Match Group CEO, in a statement about the leadership restructuring. “During that time Tinder has become a big brand in India, but Taru also has meaningfully grown OkCupid’s user base in India over the last six months due to her keen understanding of the market and culture. Her success is a template for how we can approach these emerging Asian markets, particularly when we have stellar talent on the ground that understands the cultural, regulatory and market dynamics at play,” she added.
In Korea, Match Group credits Seo with executing Tinder’s first-ever TV ad campaign, which helped increase downloads in Korea 2.5x from 2016 to 2018.
The company also says Ishibashi more than doubled Pairs’ revenue in Japan since its acquisition in 2015.
Both executives will oversee other Match Group brands in their respective markets as part of their new responsibilities.
Match Group has been growing its footprint in the Asian market for some time. On its Q4 2018 earnings call in February, the company noted it already had teams in around half a dozen key countries throughout Asia focused on its marketing programs and developing the cultural insight it needed to succeed in those regions.
Ginsberg now says she would like to see a quarter of Match Group’s revenue coming from Asia within five years.
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