Billing itself as the first of its kind in China, Blued, a popular gay dating app, is anything but with news that a group of American venture capitalists will be investing 30 million dollars in the start-up. The app combines the immediacy and locality-based functionality of similar applications like Grindr and Scruff, but also enables group settings so people can organize activities such as hiking or getting a basketball team together, and provides information on where to get tested for HIV.
Blued was launched in December, 2012, and currently boasts 15 million users according to its founder, an elusive ex-police officer turned LGBT activist and entrepreneur by the name of Ma Baoli. And according to TVNZ.co.nz, the app also serves an important role in HIV/AIDS awareness. “There is an increasing epidemic among men who have sex with men, gay or otherwise, and so it is important to support innovation in how people reach their people” said Catherine Sozi, the country director for the UN agency working on AIDS issues during an AIDS awareness event organized by Blued in Beijing last week. (The World Health Organization’s best estimate to the number of HIV-infected Chinese is around 800,000.)
Blue City, the parent company of Danlan.org and Blued, employs 40 young software engineers, designers and salespeople, most of them male in their early 20s. Baoli says that 80 percent of them are openly gay. Blued’s success points that, despite all the problems, there is a newly-found openness in China’s so-called booming “pink market,” the article goes on to say.
But it isn’t simply the advent of the Internet – and by extension social dating apps – that have helped to benefit China’s increasingly vocal LGBT community. A survey issued on the social acceptance toward LGBT people, was done by the Shanghai LGBT Professionals and Work For LGBT and Parents, Families, Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and it revealed that 59 percent of Chinese people are saying the society should accept homosexuals. Fifty-nine percent of 2,400 city residents interviewed said that society should accept homosexuals while 21 per cent said they know gay people. On same-sex marriage, 40 percent of respondents supported the idea and 19 per cent opposed reports the Business Standard.
by Associate Editor
Source – LGBT Weekly