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Chinese gay-dating app explores overseas market

Updated: 2015-02-09 15:01
By Dai Tian (chinadaily.com.cn)

Chinese gay-dating app explores overseas market

User opens the Blued app on a smartphone in Shanghai, Nov 17, 2014. [Photo/IC]

Chinese gay-dating application Blued unveiled its international version in the Netherlands, becoming the country's first such app to go global, said the company on its homepage on Saturday.

Blued founder and CEO Geng Le said the decision to launch in the Netherlands was because it was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage and is a "paradise" for gays.

Geng Le launched the app in 2011, and it now has more than 15 million subscribers and an average of three million daily active users, said the former police officer. The app recently pulled in $30 million in third-round financing.

The 36-year-old, who quit his job to play Cupid, said he wants to liberate fellow homosexuals across the world.

The Blued announced its plan to expand the production of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) multimedia content with RNW, former Radio Netherlands Worldwide, and explore further cooperation in marketing and finance, according to the independent media on Friday.

Geng said the new version will provide more accurate location-based services to users overseas and a new team consisting of multi-lingual members with background at international Internet firms has been formed.

The goal is to turn the Blued into a global leading social app for gays, said Geng Le in a press release, targeting its competitors such as Grindr and Jack'd in the US.

The European market is friendly and has great potential, said Geng to media, adding that choosing the Netherland as its first destination was a favorable move.

China legalized homosexuality in 1997 and removed it from the list of mental diseases in 2001. Previous estimates put the country's gay male population at around 40 million.

Geng said he knows well the struggle, if not the desperation, of the community to gain self identity, dignity and social respect.

Related story: Gay-dating app finds financial boost, by Shan Juan, China Daily

Founder hopes network will help demonstrate social tolerance

A former policeman who founded a dating app for gay men said he wanted to liberate fellow homosexuals across the world after the app pulled in $30 million in third-round financing.

Geng Le, founder of Blued, made the high-profile announcement after Apple CEO Tim Cook acknowledged his homosexuality, which Geng said was a great encouragement.

With the investment, "we now have a long-term plan to design and introduce a lesbian networking application, 'Pinkd,' to help them find friends and possibly true love," he told China Daily.

"We are aiming high for a final IPO, which would celebrate gay culture and business and, more important, demonstrate ever increasing social tolerance in the country," he said.

China legalized homosexuality in 1997 and removed it from the list of mental diseases in 2001, but "social stigma and discrimination against it does exist today," he said.

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