Top 5 apps for Chinese gays and lesbians
China's burgeoning LGBT-rights movement has been given a boost thanks to a proliferation of social networking apps targeting homosexuals backed by big tech firms.
There are an estimated 70 million gays and lesbians in China, and a growing push to legalise same-sex marriage. Despite a lack of formal legal recognition, Chinese society is relatively accepting of LGBT individuals, especially in comparison to other developing nations.
SCMP staff reporters have examined this growing market and selected some of the most popular LGBT apps. Their inclusion is based on functionality, funding, and popularity with users.
Released last year, this lesbian dating app allows women to network based on their location, similar to US app Grindr, which targets gay men. It attracted several million yuan in seed funding from well-known angel investor Charles Xue and has users in the mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand and the US.
One of China's most successful LGBT apps, this gay dating service has attracted more than 15 million users worldwide since its founding in 2012. It provides users with an easy way to browse each others' profiles, photos, blogs and send each other text or voice messages. Blued raised more than US$30 million in funding in October 2014, shortly after Apple chief executive Tim Cook himself came out as gay.
Founded in 2013, this lesbian social network app focuses on online-to-offline functionality, helping to organise community-building and networking activities. The company's co-founders include veterans of leading web companies such as Google, Sina, Tencent and Alibaba, and it raised funding from Silicon Valley venture capital firms.
Founded in 2013, this gay social networking app has more than 10 million users in mainland China alone. It helps users organise social activities including karaoke, sports games, and networking events. Zank raised 20 million yuan in Series A funding in July 2014.
The first Chinese social networking app targeting the country's lesbians – it was founded in 2012 – The L aims to connect lesbians in China with each other and the wider LGBT community throughout the world. It raised 10 million yuan seed funding in December 2014.