Contributed by: ElyseRomano Friday, July 15 2016 @ 07:27 am
To coincide with LGBT Pride Month in the United States, China’s most popular gay social networking app announced last month a major milestone. Blued, founded in 2012, has completed its latest rounds of investor financing and now has a value of $300 million.
Blued claimed more than 27 million registered users globally as a February 2016, with overseas users accounting for more than 20 percent of the total. Not only does that make it China’s biggest gay dating app and bigger than Grindr, it also makes Blued one of the top social networking apps on the App Store.
Geng Le, CEO of Blued, said the company has seen significant revenue growth, particularly in the first half of 2016 when it started to make a profit. The app primarily makes money from advertising and live streaming, where audiences can tune into live-streaming video broadcasts and send virtual gifts to the broadcasters.
"With the funding, we plan to speed up our international expansion, and localize our products overseas,” Geng said. “We will promote the marketing and branding, and set up more offices overseas. We also plan to hire more competitive staff, and we will pay them a considerable salary."
Blued currently operates offices abroad in the United States and Thailand. The app has been translated into nine languages and its users hail from more than 190 countries and regions.
What has made Blued so explosively popular? As one of the earliest Chinese-language, geo-dating apps for gay singles in the region, Blued got an early foothold in the market. And given that China’s population is 1.3 billion - 1.7 million of which are estimated to fall on the LGBT spectrum - that market is potentially enormous.
“The gay business is a piece of virgin territory in China, and we hope to become a leader of this lucrative market,” Geng Le told China Daily[*1] this week. “The substantial spending ability of gays and the funding support we got indicate the strong power of the so-called pink economy.”
For comparison, consider Grindr. As the world’s other best-known gay dating app, Grindr was valued at $155 million earlier this year when it sought its most recent investment in China. Grindr has more than two million daily active users, according to a factsheet from June 2015. Blued has over three million.
The numbers bode well for Blued, which is preparing to shift its strategy in light of the good news. Last November, Geng Le said that Blued was aiming for a stock market flotation within five years. China Daily reports that the company now hopes to achieve it within the next one to two years, though the location of the listing is not yet known.