Grindr announced yesterday in an official filing to the Shenzhen stock exchange that it had been bought by Chinese gaming firm Beijing Kunlun Tech Company. Beijing Kunlun will own the controlling stake in Grindr, which was valued at $155 million – despite only being set up six years ago. The remainder of the company will be owned by founder Joel Simkhai and Grindr’s employees.
In a press release, Simkhai stated that the investment would allow Grindr “to expand our services for you” and “accelerate our growth”. As Beijing Kunlun is a gaming company, there’s speculation that Grindr will be diversifying away from dating, into games or other lifestyle categories.
Given that Grindr announced earlier this week that it would be collaborating with designer J.W. Anderson to stream his upcoming menswear show, it seems possible this will be the start of more unexpected moves from everyone’s favourite gay hookup app.
Grindr is not popular in China, which has a history of banning foreign-headquartered social networking sites such as Facebook, and where LGBT people report high levels of discrimination. According to 2013 figures from the Pew Research Center, only 21 per cent of Chinese people believe that societies should accept homosexuality (compared to 76 per cent in the UK).
Meanwhile, Grindr users are divided over what this means. Some see the funny side, whilst one Twitter user described the move as “weird and a little scary”. Ultimately, only time will show what this new Asian match means.