Blued is China’s most popular gay dating app, with over 40 million users globally. Amidst domestic challenges, the platform looks to expand across the U.S. and Southeast Asia as part of its mission to become the world’s largest gay social platform.
A new report from Rest of World dives into the next steps for Blued. The platform rose to prominence in China by providing HIV prevention and sexual health services, as well as steering around the political issues that brought down competitor apps.
But now the platform faces more challenges domestically, as the Chinese government enacts stronger restrictions on LGBTQ+ organizations.
Newborn Town, the company who recently acquired Blued, now wants to take the platform to new heights in international markets. The company is targeting Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, and the U.S. in its next expansion, Rest of World shares.
The platform looks to compete with other Western gay dating apps by expanding its social tools, giving users live-streaming, activity feed, and voice chat features. It is also exploring offline events in the U.S.
But this expansion will be an uphill battle. The gay dating platform recently put popular features behind a paywall, including the ability to send disappearing photos on the app, prompting users to grow weary of Blued.
With concerns in the U.S. government over Chinese social apps and their management of user data, Blued could face roadblocks in the country.
“If Blued grew very quickly in the U.S. – if it had a lot of influence over the U.S. gay community – then I think the U.S. government would step in”, predicted Shuaishuai Wang, a lecturer in digital media at the University of Manchester.
Grindr CEO George Arison said recently that the company looks to become “the global gayborhood in your pocket”. It’s clear that multiple gay dating apps want to expand beyond just hookups, and become the super-app for the LGBT community.
Blued, Grindr and others, will be vying for his top spot in years to come.