For a recent feature, The New York Times spoke to Blued founder Ma Baoli about why he decided to create the gay dating app and the challenges he faced building a platform of this kind in China.
Baoli realised his own sexuality while working as a police officer in China in the mid-1990s – a time when being gay was both a crime and seen as a psychological disorder in the region.
And having looked for help online to little avail, Baoli first set up a gay chat forum and advice site called Danlan in 2000, then gay social network Blued.
Blued has been hugely successful since launching in 2012, now China’s most popular gay dating app with over 27m users (6m outside China), and estimated to be worth a whopping $600m.
And the market potential is massive, with some estimating that the spending power of LGBTQ people in China sits at $469bn every year.
Baoli said: “In the past people wouldn’t even talk about homosexuality because they thought it was dirty, it was filthy.
“The internet can help support gay lifestyles, to make people know they are not alone and that their feelings are genuine.”
It was recently announced that Blued had entered into a new partnership with fellow gay dating app Hornet, participating in an extension of Hornet’s $8m funding round.
To read the full article about Baoli please click here.