Gay dating app Grindr sells controlling stake to Chinese billionaire

Grindr has sold a 60 percent stake to Chinese billionaire Zhou Yahui for $93 million, though no major changes to the app are expected to be made.

Grindr

Grindr, the social platform for gay men, has just sold a controlling stake of the company to Chinese gaming company Beijing Kunlun Tech in a deal reported to be worth $93 million (AU$134 million, £64 million), it was announced earlier today.

This brings the valuation of the six-year-old startup to some $155 million (AU$223 million, £107 million) and is the first time the company has received outside investment. A precursor to popular dating apps like Tinder, Grindr uses a smartphone's GPS to match men within a certain radius of each other.

Meanwhile, Beijing Kunlun's founder Zhou Yahui became one of China's latest tech billionaires after his company listed on the Shenzen stock exchange in 2015.

The deal comes at a time where gay rights in China is a very sensitive topic and millions around the country are still stigmatized by a more conservative society that only saw homosexuality removed from the national list of mental disorders in 2001. This has given rise to services like Blued, often called the Grindr of China, which attempt to use the internet to get around archaic laws.

That said, it hasn't been explicitly stated whether Grindr will be entering China. However, Carter McJunkin, Grindr CEO, did tell the New York Time that the two companies have agreed the organisation's original operating structure and team would remain largely intact, meaning radical changes to the app based on this development are unlikely.

"We have taken this investment in our company to accelerate our growth, to allow us to expand our services for you, and to continue to ensure that we make Grindr the number one app and brand for our millions of users," the app's founder Joel Simkhai said in a blog post.

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