HIGH-TECH Yet homosexuality remains subject to China a very strong social pressure …

Chinese Kunlun Tech company, specializing in online games, has taken a majority stake in the application Grindr meetings for homosexuals, said Tuesday the two sides, even though homosexuality remains subject to China in a very strong social pressure.

Several million users

Grindr, who readily describes as “world’s largest gay men dating network”, claims millions of users for its matchmaking application, based on the particular location.

Founded in 2009, Grindr has pioneered the technology to locate via their smartphone, to find potential partners based on their profile but also their geographic proximity. This model was then copied by many other dating sites, for example, Tinder.

$ 93 million

In a message posted on his blog, the CEO and founder of Grindr, Joel Simkhai, said that his company had “agreed to see Kunlun Tech take a controlling interest” and that the operation “was a huge mark of confidence in (its) vision of connecting even more gay men in the world around them. ”

Kunlun Tech -one of the most important creators and online game operators in China-later confirmed he was taking a 60% interest in Grindr for $ 93 million, thus valuing the California firm some $ 155 million .

One application already well established in China

If Grindr is already well established in China, Kunlun Tech suggested it was much interested in his specialization (Gay dating) and by its innovative networking technologies. “This investment in a specialized social network will further enhance the strategic profile of the company on the global Internet market,” he assured in a statement.

In return, his experience in game management and other online products could contribute to better grow the business of Grindr, he promised. The announcement clearly impressed the market: the title of Kunlun Tech flew Tuesday from 10% to China Shenzhen Stock Exchange, the maximum limit.

This is the first stake to an outside investor in Grindr -which claims to be now present in 196 countries and receive about two million visits per day, for an annual turnover of around 32 million dollars.

Pressure on homosexuals

With the first of online population in the world (nearly 670 million people), China is a crucial market and a significant source of growth for these applications, despite the pressures still suffering What homosexuals.

Beijing decriminalized homosexuality in 1997 and removed it from its list of mental illnesses in 2001, but gays and lesbians Chinese are still the subject of a very strong family and social pressure, and content related to the homosexuality are regularly censored on the local internet.

If bars and other places of socialization gays are popular in big cities, they remain rare, and many gay youth prefer the discretion and convenience of smartphone applications.