image

Internet

Gay dating app Grindr plans to go public after Chinese parent gives go-ahead

Timing of listing dependent on conditions in the international capital market and approval from regulators

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 August, 2018, 1:21pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 August, 2018, 2:16pm

Grindr, the gay dating app owned by Chinese gaming company Kunlun Group, has received approval from its parent’s executive board for an overseas public listing.

The timing of the listing is dependent on conditions in the international capital market and progress of approval from domestic and overseas regulators, Kunlun said in a public filing on the Shenzhen stock exchange on Wednesday. While the executive board has approved the listing plan, it still needs approval by the shareholder board.

Kunlun bought a 61.5 per cent stake in Grindr in 2016 at a valuation of US$155 million, and acquired the remaining shares for full ownership in January.

Grindr deal comes as China cultivates lucrative market catering to LGBT

Grindr, which counts the US and Europe as its major user customer base, is one of three major businesses operated by Kunlun, contributing 12.9 per cent, or 3.4 billion yuan (US$498 million), of its total revenues in 2017, when the parent did not wholly own the app. The other two main business units of Kunlun include mobile gaming platform GameArk and entertainment social platform Xianlai Entertainment.

“Grindr’s listing won’t exert a huge influence on the group’s revenues and profits,” Kunlun said in the filing. “Meanwhile, Grindr can have an individual and direct financing platform which can support its expansion and long-term development.”

The ex-cop behind China’s largest Grindr-style gay dating app

Los Angeles-based Grindr, established in 2009, was initially financed by personal savings from its founding chief executive Joel Simkhai. Kunlun’s investment was the first outside money raised by Grindr.

Kunlun, however, did not bring Grindr to China as people had expected. The most popular gay dating app in the country is Beijing-based Blued which claims to have 40 million registered users.

How social media is helping gay Chinese men fight HIV

Blued has been actively raising capital from outside investors since it was founded in 2012 by former policeman Ma Baoli. Earlier this year, he secured US$100 million in Series D financing.

With “millions of daily users,” Grindr also offers a premium subscription service that features Grindr Tribes, allowing users to specify their preference for Bear, Clean-cut, Daddy, Discreet, Geek, Jock, Leather, Otter, Poz, Rugged, Trans and Twink. Grindr ranked between No 34 and 36 in terms of most downloaded social apps in the US Android store during August, according to App Annie.