Chinese tech giant buys Grindr
Dating app Grindr has been bought out.
A Chinese tech company has bought the app, which is popular among gay and bisexual men around the world.
Beijing Kunlun Tech has completed its acquisition, after initially investing in the company back in January 2016.
It originally bought 61.5% of the gay social-network for $93 million, and has now purchased the remaining 38.5% stake in Grindr LLC for $152 million.
Beijing Kunlun, by billionaire Zhou Yahui, is one of China’s largest game developers.
Purchasing the app will improve the company’s position in the market, with three million people using Grindr each day.
When the company made its initial acquisition, Grindr’s founder, Joel Simkhai, tried to reassure users by insisting the app would mostly be “business as usual.”
China has restrictive laws on media, political information and ‘pornography’ which mean the app can be limited in parts of the country.
Although China has Grindr users, many reportedly complain of access problems.
Grindr is not the largest app of this type in China, with Blued, started by former policeman Geng Le in 2013, having more users.
Blued has a stricter user policy and markets itself more as a lifestyle brand than a dating app alone.
Grindr recently appointed an editor as it seeks to create news and lifestyle stories.
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However question marks have been raised over its editorial policy since the Chinese buy-out, with fears news could be restricted with its new ownership.
Grindr has faced repeated controversy over fake profiles and user privacy.
The company was facing a lawsuit after 700 men turned up to a man’s home for sex from fake profiles.
Matthew Herrick, 32, alleged he had dozens of reports of fake profiles ignored by the gay dating app, saying “my entire life has been stolen from me”.
He accused Grindr of negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false advertising, and deceptive business practices for allowing him to be impersonated and turned into an unwitting beacon for stalkers and harassers.
However, it has since been suggested the app might not be liable, as the federal Communications Decency Act (CDA) could apply meaning Grindr is simply a “neutral” app that displays third-party content.