BLOOMBERG - Aug 30 - Blued, China's largest gay-dating app, is planning a U.S. IPO that could raise ~$200M. The share sale will likely take place next year and could value Blued at ~1 billion. Founded in 2012 by former policeman Geng Le, Blued has become an icon for the Chinese LGBT community and attracted ~$130M in venture capital as of March. The dating app also offers live streaming and connects men who want to become parents with overseas surrogates.
MENAFN - July 11 - The campaign focuses on making people aware about being bullied or mocked online as well as the threats an individual faces when one encounters someone who isn't what they claim to be. Blued, has partnered with Queerythm and Ya.All, community based organizations that provides support groups for the LGBTQI community, and launched helpline numbers to report such incidents. These helplines will also work toward counselling people who have been a victim to cyber bullying or physical abuse. In a recent survey report, 42% of the LGBTQ members have been a victim of virtual harassment and the numbers of incident have swiftly been rising. Launched in 2012, Blued is the largest gay dating social media app with ~40M users globally.
THE SIASAT DAILY - May 15 - Blued, a gay dating app, has launched their first ever queer film making contest called Blued Queer Flicks. The contest will be followed by a screening scheduled to be taken place on June 8, 2019, in Delhi. ~60 entries have been received since the contest was launched in April. Out of the total received entries, there are 10 selected contestants whose short movies will be shown at the fest and the winners will be awarded the cash prizes and awards. The movies are based on queer themes, struggles, love, fun, education and social perception.
BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK - Mar 21 - The urge to have a child hit Blued's founder Geng Le hard after age 35. Surrogacy is illegal in China. Another option was Thailand, but by 2015 that country had banned foreign surrogacy. Geng decided on California, which offered the best legal protections for "intended parents" such as himself, excellent advanced medical care for the surrogate and the newborn, and a U.S. passport for the baby. The surrogacy process was a long drumbeat of tests, contract signings, and administrative details. When the due date came around, Geng flew to LA for the birth and held his son for the first time. He returned home with his son, Xiao Shu, in March 2017. He also brought back a new idea for Blued: an overseas surrogacy service for gay men - Bluedbaby. Bluedbaby shepherds clients through such choices, connecting them with steps such as choosing an egg donor, finding a surrogate, signing contracts, and navigating American culture.
CRUNCHBASE - Feb 14 - In 2018, venture investors put $127M globally into 27 dating-focused startups. It's certainly tiny compared to the ~$300B in global venture investment across all sectors last year. While the US is home to the majority of funded startups in the dating category, the bulk of investment has gone to China. In 2018, ~80% of dating-related investment went to a single company - Blued, a Grindr-style hookup app for gay men. In 2017, the bulk of capital went to Chinese mobile dating app Tantan, and in 2014, Beijing-based matchmaking site Baihe raised ~$250M. Meanwhile, in the U.S, we are seeing an assortment of startups raising smaller rounds.
REUTERS - Jan 5 - Chinese gay dating app Blued is halting new user registration for a week, following media reports that underage users caught HIV after going on dates set up via the app. In response, Blued vowed to launch a "comprehensive content audit and regulation," and crack down on underage users posing as adults. Blued, which was launched in 2010 and now boasts 40M registered users, is backed by state-run media Beijing News.
BUSINESS-STANDARD - Nov 20 - Blued, the largest gay dating app globally, has launched #whatsnext377 campaign in India, aiming to strengthen and spread awareness about the LGBTQI community and its rights. According to the Section 377, the Supreme Court judgment ruled that 'consensual adult gay sex is not crime, saying sexual orientation is natural and people have no control over it'.
BUSINESS TIMES - Sep 7 - Grindr is planning an IPO overseas. Grindr owner, Beijing Kunlun Technology, did not publicize where or when the IPO will take place. The LGBT community continues to thrive in China. Rela is one of the most popular social networking platforms that cater to the LGBT community in China. During its peak, the platform had ~5M registered users. Blued, the country's second-largest social network for the LGBT community claims to have 27M registered users. Based on the latest data, the Chinese LGBT population currently stands between 70M to 90M. The Chinese LGBT community has an annual purchasing power that stands at a massive $938B in 2017 alone.
by Vera Dee
See full article at Business Times
CBC.CA - July 5 - Based in Beijing, Blued is the most popular gay dating app in the world. Blued operates mostly in China and Southeast Asia, but has plans to expand to Mexico and Brazil and eventually to North America and Europe. It's also moving beyond dating to offer adoption services to gay couples and free HIV testing clinics in China. Beijing's approach to homosexuality has been ambiguous and sometimes contradictory. "The government has its 'Three No's,'" said Xiaogang Wei, the executive director of the LGBT group Beijing Gender. "Don't support homosexuality, don't oppose and don't promote." In 2016, Beijing banned depictions of gay people on TV and the internet in a sweeping crackdown on "vulgar, immoral and unhealthy content." Regulations said any reference to homosexuality promotes the "dark side of society," lumping gay content in with sexual violence and incest. Yet in April, when Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo decided to impose its own, apparently unofficial ban on gay content - erasing 50k posts in one day - Beijing seemed to mirror the disapproval of internet users.
NEW YORK TIMES - Apr 15 - With hashtags like #Iamgaynotapervert and images of hearts and rainbows, tens of thousands of Chinese residents took to social media over the weekend to protest efforts to censor gay-themed images, videos and cartoons. Sina Weibo, a Twitterlike site, said that it was trying to limit the spread of sexually suggestive and violent content and that it would target cartoons, pictures, texts, short videos and romantic fiction. The site said its aim was to promote a "clear and harmonious" environment. Many activists saying that its attempts to limit free speech had gone too far and that gay people were being punished because their culture was considered out of the mainstream. Ma Baoli, the founder of Blued, a gay dating app, said the country's lack of sexual education had exacerbated a culture of intolerance.
DEALSTREET ASIA - Feb 5 - Blued secures $100m in Series D funding round. The latest round was led by CDH Investments and UG Capital Investment, marking the seventh round of financing. Launched in 2012, Blued has become one of the world's most popular free gay social apps, attracting ~15M users worldwide. Blued CEO Geng Le said the company will make further efforts to optimize and upgrade products and services.
by Mars Woo
See full article at Dealstreet Asia
This post also appears on InternetDatingInvestments.
CHANNEL NEWS ASIA - Jan 31 - Google has pulled one of the world's largest gay dating apps from the Indonesian version of its online store in response to government demands. Officials had called for the tech giant to remove 73 LGBT-related apps, including dating services, from its Play Store and urged people to shun apps that broke with cultural norms in the world's biggest Muslim-majority nation. Gay dating app Blued - which boasts ~27M users globally - no longer appeared in the Google Play Store available to Indonesian users. Apple's online store still has Blued available.
COCONUTS - Jan 18 - Indonesia's IT Ministry has filed a request to Google to block ~70 LGBT social networking apps from being available to download in the country through the Google Play Store. The ministry is unable to block the apps themselves as they are all available under Google's platform. One of the apps was Blued, a gay dating and social networking app that claims to have 27M users worldwide. Google has not released any statement on the matter.
GLOBAL TIMES - Jan 8 - Lovoo, Badoo, Tinder, Grindr, Her, Tantan, Momo, Blued and LesPark have proliferated both in the West and the East. They have enabled people to meet across social milieus, increased intercultural marriages and has led to more marriage stability, according to the MIT Technology Review magazine. But does it benefit everyone equally? The short answer is no. The nature of the dating apps favors those who are considered "attractive" by society's terms. "Society has been conditioned to see Caucasian people as the standard of beauty" the magazine Study Breaks wrote. Data analysis by OkCupid from 2009 to 2014 proved that people of color and Asian men are marginalized the most in the dating market. To find out more about the role that race plays in online dating in China, the Metropolitan launched a social experiment on the Chinese dating app Tantan. The platform has mainly Chinese users. Surprisingly, the results were similar to previous findings in the US. The Asian man scored lowest with a 3% match rate, while his Western counterpart reached 12% match rate. Meanwhile, the Asian woman received 15% match rate, while the Western woman received 66%.
FORBES - June 23 - China's Communist government doesn't encourage LGBT causes or other social activism. Yet China lacks strong organized religion, so the LGBT community is tacitly accepted as long it don't stand in the way of authority. China's three-year-old pink economy is one-third the size of the more mature American pink economy. China is the world's third largest LGBT market after Europe and the US and worth $300B per year. Pink spending power the U.S. came to $917B in 2015. China's Blued app for LGBT services has 27M users, making it the biggest app of its type worldwide.
NEW YORK TIMES - June 19 - The NYC Pride celebrations continue this week, leading up to the march on Sunday. Mr. Geng is a former police officer who set up one of China's first gay advice and networking sites, and later created Blued, one of the country's most popular gay dating apps. He was selected to be a grand marshal in recognition of his successful use of the Internet to raise awareness among China's gay community and of his passion for L.G.B.T. rights.
Q: What was it like growing up gay in China?
A: Until 1997, gay sex was considered a crime in China, and homosexuality was classified as a mental illness in the country until 2001. My parents still think being gay is a disease.
Q: What is it like being L.G.B.T. in China today?
A: Things have gotten better since, but the situation remains challenging. People who come out as gay risk losing their jobs.
INSIDE INDONESIA - Apr 19 - Several dating apps, including Grindr, Blued and BoyAhoy, have been blocked in Indonesia. The Ministry of Information said these apps were being used by paedophiles to pimp teenage boys.
TECHNODE - Feb 8 - China's attitude toward GLBT community is improving. Chinese gay chat and hook-up app Blued has sealed eight-digit RMB strategic funding from the investment arm of The Beijing News, a state-backed newspaper group. Blued now supports 13 languages and has set up offices in Thailand, Vietnam, and the U.K. In December last year, Blued made a strategic investment with U.S. dating app Hornet in an attempt to make forays into North American and Latin American markets. The company is recording profits now thanks to thriving live streaming and mobile marketing businesses.
Update: YIBADA - Feb 10 - Blued raised $30M from The Beijing News.
This post also appears on InternetDatingInvestments.