Malaysia-based dating platform draws over 20,000 wannabe Singapore sugar daddies, babies

TheSugarBook founder and chief executive officer Darren Chan told TODAY that the dating site aims to grow its total membership to over 200,000 by June. — TODAY pic
TheSugarBook founder and chief executive officer Darren Chan told TODAY that the dating site aims to grow its total membership to over 200,000 by June. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, Jan 10 — A money-for-love dating platform has attracted more than 20,000 signups from users here within a year of its launch, and is looking to recruit even more “sugar babies” in Singapore through promotions targeting undergraduates.

Malaysia-based TheSugarBook, which started operations in December 2016, markets itself as a link-up between “well-established wealthy individuals” who “wish to pamper sugar babies with financial support in return for love and companionship” and those who “appreciate the glamorous life indulging in the luxuries that life has to offer”.

On its website, the company said it aims to “provide a safe and discreet online platform which focuses on anonymity and privacy to legitimately build relationships with benefits between consenting adults”.

It added that it “does not condone any illegal activities”, without elaborating.

Singapore users make up the second biggest group of TheSugarBook’s 75,000 members, behind Malaysia, where there are at least 28,500 users. The rest are mainly from the Philippines, the United States, and India. Overall, three out of 10 users signed up as sugar daddies, of which 10 per cent are in Singapore.

Both genders can sign up as sugar babies or sugar daddies/mommies, but the majority of its users in Singapore are young women aged between 19 and 33, including university students, said a company spokesperson. The typical profile of those who signed up as sugar daddies here are 30- to 45-year-old C-suite executives or professionals such as lawyers, bankers and entrepreneurs, drawing US$360,000 (RM1.44 million) annually.

There are “definitely more female sugar babies in Singapore (than sugar daddies here) at this point”, TheSugarBook’s spokesperson said.

Premium members can see who viewed their profiles or “favourited” them, allowing them to “selectively engage” with these users. Premium members can also send as many messages as they want to other users, and get invited to private events organised by TheSugarBook.

To be one, sugar daddies have to pay US$49.95 monthly, US$128.85 for a three-month subscription, or US$215.70 for a six-month subscription.

The rate for sugar babies is US$9.95 monthly, although there is a promotion offering free premium membership to students aged 18 and over, if they register with their university email addresses, under a promotion with the tagline, “discover the modern way to avoid student loan debt”.

A company spokesperson said it verifies applicants’ email addresses before listing them on the platform. But it does not verify if users are single, arguing that it was “merely a niche social networking platform where like-minded consenting adults can connect, meet and develop mutually beneficial relationships”.

“Just like Tinder, OKCupid, or Match.com, we are unable to restrict memberships to only singles,” she said. “We do not facilitate any matchmaking or introduction therefore ... we are unable to ensure that all the members are single. We do encourage our members to be as transparent as they are willing to be.”

When asked how it is different from extra-marital dating website Ashley Madison 2.0, which was banned by the then-Media Development Authority of Singapore in 2013, TheSugarBook said: “We are in full support of successful relationships which could lead to marriage and more.”

Their platform merely grants women the opportunities to meet “high calibre, high status and financially able” men, so they can lead the lifestyle they want, the spokesperson added.

Before Ashley Madison was banned, Minister Chan Chun Sing, who was helming Social and Family Development at that time, came out strongly against the adultery website, saying it was “not welcome” here, adding that he was “against any company or website that harms marriage”.

TheSugarBook founder and chief executive officer Darren Chan, 31, who aims to grow membership to over 200,000 by June, added: “If men can choose to date women for their beauty and youth, women can choose to date men for their money and status.” — TODAY

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