A Chinese tech company has completed its purchase of Grindr.
In January 2016 Beijing Kunlun Tech acquired 61.5% of the gay social-network app for $93 million. It’s now announced plans to purchase the remaining 38.5% stake in Grindr LLC for $152 million, according to Reuters.
Run by billionaire Zhou Yahui, Beijing Kunlun is one of China’s largest game developers. The purchase of Grindr, which has more than 3 million daily users, will put it in a more strategic position internationally. But how will it affect Grindr’s position in China, where online activity is still heavily monitored and regulated?
When Beijing Kunlun first invested, Grindr founder Joel Simkhai insisted it would mostly be “business as usual.” But that could change now.
Grindr is available on the mainland, but users reportedly complain of access problems—and strict government regulations hamper the dissemination of “pornography” and politically sensitive information. (Currently, the biggest hookup app in China is Blued, started by former policeman Geng Le in 2013.)
At the same time, Grindr has been working to evolve into more of a lifestyle brand: The company recently brought in a poet in residence, and just announced the hiring of an editor-in-chief, who will oversee the online magazine Into. “We’ll work very closely with Grindr as an app to source stories and meet people around the world,” Zach Stafford told Ad Age.