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App dancing

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Last year, mid- to late-aged women (known as dama) became the scourge of Chinese society. Congregating in public squares and dancing in unison to music blaring from loudspeakers, the dama disturbed the peace and aggravated tired workers. Although the practice has existed for years, it reached an apex in 2015 when the government attempted to regulate the dama’s dance choreography, prescribing 12 approved routines.

This regulation didn’t catch on, however, and now the private sector is stepping in to capitalise on the phenomenon known as “square dancing” (named for the public squares where it occurs).

One app, called Tangdou Square Dance, recently raised Rmb15 million ($2.20 million) in second round fundraising, piquing interest in the potential of the market. Tangdou provides users with instructional videos on dance routines, facilitates live streaming, and uses geo-positioning to inform the dama where the closest square dance is.

Purportedly, the app has over two million dance videos and logs one million users daily. This makes it a potential bonanza for advertisers as the dama, according to the Global Times, often control the household budget.

However the dama are not renowned for their tech savvy, so expanding the userbase of these apps is problematic. Nevertheless, Tangdou is not alone in the field. In April an app called Just Love Square Dancing raised Rmb13 million in funding.


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