The now-popular gay dating app Grindr may not have seemed like an exclusive money-making opportunity at first, but things have changed a bit; the biggest social networking app for same-sex singles was just sold to Beijing Kunlun Tech Co. for $93 million.
According to Bloomberg Business, the China-based company purchased a 60% stake in New Grindr LLC for $93 million in cash, and the company is continuing to look for other investments in the U.S. mobile app industry.
Beijing Kunlun purchased a version of the popular mobile app game Angry Birds in Feb. 2015 and tailored it specifically for Chinese players. The company has stakes in Supercell Oy’s Clash of Clans, Supercell Oy’s Boom Beach, and Electronic Art Inc.’s Need for Speed.
Grindr was easily one of the underdogs in the mobile app industry when it launched in 2009, and it has faced significant competition from other hookup apps like Tinder and Scruff since its creation. The Los Angeles Times recently noted that Grindr has been wildly successful for the past seven years and is now the largest social network globally for gay men; there are approximately two million people using the app across 196 countries.
One leaked document from this past summer even projected the L.A.-based company’s advertising and subscription revenue to reach $38 million in 2015.
The purchase of Grindr is notable for two reasons: Firstly, because the app managed to reach such popularity in an industry that is notoriously difficult, where nearly 650 new apps are published on the App Store each day. Secondly, the investment is important because China’s attitude toward homosexuality has radically changed in the past few years. While the country still does not recognize gay marriages, homosexuality is becoming more acceptable, especially among the upper class.
This is a major improvement from China’s earlier Communist era during the 1990s when homosexuality was defined as a psychiatric disorder.
Although the country still hasn’t reached the level of LGBT-friendliness that Los Angeles has, it’s notable that Beijing Kunlun considers the purchase to be “business as usual.”