Ma Boali, CEO of gay dating app Blued, has interviewed with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Based in China, the app now has over 40 million users and is valued at over $600 million. Competitor Grindr has around 30 million users, and was recently acquired by Chinese firm Kunlun Group Limited for $250 million.
The site reportedly plans to expand into Mexico and Brazil next, before moving into North America and Europe.
It is also in the process of rolling out adoption services for gay couples and free HIV testing in China.
One of the challenges to growing Blued continues to be Beijing’s confusing attitude towards homosexuality, explains Ma.
Depictions of homosexuality in the media were banned in 2016 as the government moved to tackle “vulgar, immoral and unhealthy content.”
Official government media channels have since claimed, however, that “(…) rationally speaking, it should be consensus that everyone should respect other people’s sexual orientations.”
LGBTQ groups estimate that only around 5% of gay Chinese have come out publicly, and there are still prominent instances of homophobic abuse in the country. Gay conversion therapy, a practice the UK may soon ban, is common.
Blued employs a large team of moderators, who work to ensure that content on the platform does not violate Communist Party restrictions. Some government concerns target pornography, while others centre around radical social activism.
Ma said, “whenever the government is ready to change its approach to gay rights, the whole Chinese society will have to be ready to embrace that.”
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