Grindr IPO Plans Shine Light on China LGBT Acceptance

LGBT Pride
Participants hold a giant rainbow flag during the Prague Pride Parade where thousands marched through the city centre in support of gay rights, in Czech Republic, August 11, 2018. (Photo: REUTERS/David W Cerny)

Grindr, widely considered as the world's largest social-networking site that primarily caters to gays, have recently told the Shenzhen stock exchange that the company is planning to have in Initial Public Offering (IPO) overseas. Grindr owner, Beijing Kunlun Technology Co, did not publicize where or when the IPO will take place.

While Grindr's decision to go public is much applauded by many in the stock market industry, there is one particular community that is jubilant about this recent development, the LGBT community.

However, despite these mostly positive reactions to Grindr's plan, some in the local Chinese gay community and also some international gay rights group are worried about the app's primary owner, the game development company Beijing Kunlun Technology Co.

It is important to note that Sina Weibo, China's second-largest social networking platform imposed restrictions particularly against LGBT content that are being shared on its platform. This regulation was imposed six months ago and was received with serious backlash.

Some in the LGBT community have shared that there are legitimate concerns regarding Grindr's future in China. Public opinion about LGBT acceptance has relatively softened and tended to be more open since the last 20 years. Regardless of this, the Chinese government stands firm on its socially conservative ideas not only in the public but also in terms of digital interactions.

On the other hand, there is a growing number of young people that are seeing these conservative thoughts from a different perspective and with these changing views also comes economic activity. Since the recognition of the Chinese LGBT community, it has significantly grown into a formidable niche of spenders.

Because of this massive commerce brought upon by the Chinese LGBT community, some analysts have opined that the Chinese government will not shut down this so-called "pink economy" despite the state's conservative ideologies.

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 more than 5 million registered users. Blued, the country's second-largest social network for the LGBT community claims to have 27 million registered users.

Based on the latest data, the Chinese LGBT population currently stands between 70 million to 90 million. Much like there counterpart in just about every other country, those considering themselves part of the LGBT community have larger incomes compared to their straight counterparts. According to LGBT Capital, the Chinese LGBT community has an annual purchasing power that stands at a massive $938 billion in 2017 alone.

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