Sugarbook CEO Darren Chan has spoken to VICE News about how the platform works to operate safely, following its recent blacklisting in his home country Malaysia.
Chan was arrested in February for posting a promotional article about the country’s ‘top’ universities for sugar dating. He’s been charged with “intent to cause fear or unrest to the public” and could face up to two years in prison.
While he did not cover any specific details regarding the case in the interview, he maintained that Sugarbook facilitates honest relationships between consenting adults and is completely different from prostitution.
He explained: “Our business model is merely a social networking platform. We provide a platform for people to meet and all our members are working, consenting adults. Whatever happens in their private chats is not for us to judge.
“Women empowerment is about uplifting women. [We give] them a platform and increasing the capacity for them to [freely] make their own choices, and for them to enjoy their rights as a woman.”
He also added that he is so confident in Sugarbook’s safety measures that he wouldn’t have an issue if his future daughter wanted to join the community.
Sugarbook has seen more than a 60% increase in new sign ups since the start of the pandemic. This is largely due to people who lost their jobs turning to the platform as a new way to make money.
In a LinkedIn post, Chan revealed that the team has been working on a “huge” new feature that is expected to be rolled out in Q3. No further details are available at this stage.
A number of international expansions across developed markets in Asia, like Tokyo and Hong Kong, are on the horizon, as well as a potential entry in London.