The acquisition marks PAG’s entry into China’s growing matchmaking business which claims to service about 200 million single adults, based on media reports citing Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs data.
Founded in 2005 by entrepreneur Li Song, Zhenai, which means ‘true love’ in Mandarin, currently serves over 140 million registered members and is expected to generate revenues of more than $240 million and net profits of more than $30 million in 2017.
Earlier this year, Zhenai had an unlikely suitor in drone manufacturer DEA General Aviation which had said it wanted to buy the matchmaking website.
Following the acquisition, Xiao Suining, partner and chairman of China for PAG, has been appointed as the chairman of Zhenai while founder Li will remain a minority shareholder and a member of the Board of Directors.
Zhenai claims to have become a leader in the online and offline dating and matchmaking business in China. The growing number of single adults keen on finding a match can be estimated from the fact that earlier this month Shanghai’s biggest matchmaking event “The Shanghai Love and Marriage Fair” lured over 10,000 participants.
In fact, the country celebrates a Singles’ Day every year since 2009 when e-commerce heavyweights such as Alibaba and JD.com offer heavy discounts on a range of things from luxury items to larger goods.
Zhenai is PAG’s latest major investment in internet and technology-related industries, after such successful investments as China Music Corporation (now known as Tencent Music Entertainment Group), the dominant player in China’s digital music industry, and Dashu Finance, a fast-growing fintech business, PAG said in an announcement on Tuesday.
Other recent PAG investments include Yingde Industrial Gases, Home Credit China, Universal Studios Japan, Lexmark International, Cushman & Wakefield and Golden Apple Education.
Led by Chairman and CEO Weijian Shan, PAG is one of the largest Asia-based investment firms, with over $18 billion in capital under management.