China: Gay dating app secures $30 million funding from investors

PinkNews logo with white background and rainbow corners

Investors have flocked to a hugely popular “hook-up” app for gay men in China, which currently has triple the amount of users compared to Grindr.

Launched by social media site DanLan in April 2012, Blued holds 15 million active users based mostly in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.

In contrast, Grindr currently holds 5 million active users.

According to the BBC, the company has raised a current total of $30 million (£19 million) from the venture capital firm DCM.

Blued CEO Geng Le said: “In 16 months, Blued has completed three rounds of financing and our valuation far exceeds that of some heterosexual social products.

“Our development can make more people to see the value of the gay internet, as well as the diversity and progress of Chinese society.”

He said he hoped one day to make the business international.

“The moment gay internet companies can come to the international stage, the social significance will be far greater than the capital value.

“We also want to let the world see the achievements of China’s internet, as well as Chinese society’s tolerance and progress.”

The People’s Republic of China has a mixed record on gay rights. While homosexual activity between consenting adults was legalised in 1997 and homosexuality declassified as a mental illness in 2001, there are no legal provisions for gay people in the country. Same-sex couples do not have marriage or adoption rights, nor are there laws in place to protect people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Chinese media is often accused of censoring positive depictions of gay culture and relationships. Earlier this year, gay sex scenes were censored from the film Cloud Atlas ahead of its release in the country.

In 2012, dictionary writers in China were criticised after leaving a word used by the Chinese gay community to refer to each other out of its latest edition.

In a landmark move in July, campaigners in China took a clinic to court over its backing of gay-to-straight conversion therapy.