The world of dating and friendship has witnessed a new entrant that aims to foster meaningful connections and celebrate the Asian experience. Alike, a Polynesian dating and friendship app, has recently made its debut in Canada and the US. Its founder, Hanmin Yang, a Korean-Canadian entrepreneur residing in Toronto, envisions the app as a platform where users can build connections, find a sense of community, and heal from past racial traumas together.
A Journey of Empathy and Connection
Hanmin Yang’s inspiration for creating Alike stems from his own experiences as a Korean-Canadian growing up in Canada. In his early years, he encountered racial discrimination, which left him with few childhood friends. Seeking solace, he immersed himself in popular films and TV shows, inadvertently internalizing the racism perpetuated by the media’s portrayal of Asians.
Years later, after undergoing a divorce and multiple career transitions, Yang conceived the idea of creating an app that would bring people together to heal from these racial traumas. The result was Alike, a dating and friendship app designed specifically for the Asian and Pacific Islander community.
Alike: An Antidote to Historical Stereotypes
Alike’s mission is twofold. First, it aims to combat the hypersexualization of Asian women and the emasculation of Asian men, which have their roots in historical xenophobic propaganda, anti-immigration sentiment, and depictions by old Hollywood films. These harmful stereotypes still persist in today’s TV shows and movies. Second, Alike seeks to complement mainstream dating apps by providing users with an alternative option.
The app encourages users to set dating preferences for seeking a man, woman, or nonbinary person, allowing for a diverse array of potential connections. Additionally, Alike has introduced a feature exclusively for making friends, where users of the same gender can connect with each other, ensuring the feature is not misused.
Authentic Connections: The Alike Approach
Alike takes a unique approach to enhance meaningful connections among users. Instead of traditional written bios, the app emphasizes video recordings as the primary means for users to express themselves. By responding to prompts such as “I knew when I was Asian when…” or “My love languages are…,” users can convey their personalities and experiences through video clips. This approach offers a first-hand impression of the individual’s voice and mannerisms, which has been well-received by many users.
To foster a safe and inclusive environment, Alike welcomes individuals from diverse backgrounds. However, it provides an option to choose whether to match with everyone or only users of Asian and Pacific Islander descent. This feature simplifies the process of navigating the vast spectrum of diversity within the community, ensuring respectful interactions among its members.
Alike: More Than Just Swipes
Alike deviates from the traditional swipe-based functionality commonly found in many dating apps. Instead, the app encourages users to watch videos and engage with others based on a deeper understanding of their personalities. By attaching a message in response to a video or photo in another user’s profile, Alike prompts users to initiate conversations that go beyond surface-level judgments.
Early users have appreciated this approach, finding it easier to establish commonalities with their matches on Alike. From shared cultural interests to unique experiences, the app creates an atmosphere that fosters meaningful connections from the outset. Users have been delighted to discover a sense of belonging and to find that the quirks they thought were unique to them are actually shared by others within the community.
Moving Forward, Healing Together
Beyond its primary goal of connecting individuals, Alike aspires to create a stronger sense of belonging and self-love. By sharing life experiences, users have the opportunity to heal themselves and the community at large. The launch of Alike comes at a crucial time when the Asian community is facing a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and increasing awareness of the importance of cultural heritage.
While Alike’s development predates the pandemic, it has coincided with a growing consciousness of the undercurrents of anti-Asian racism. As the community strives for healing and unity, Alike aims to provide a platform for users to connect, find solace, and celebrate the richness of the Asian experience.
With Alike, Hanmin Yang has not only created a Polynesian dating and friendship app, but he has also initiated a movement — a movement towards empathy, understanding, and meaningful connections that transcend racial barriers. Visit Six Minute Dates to embark on a journey of self-discovery, friendship, and love through Alike.