The People’s Republic of China gay dating app called Blued has now reached 15 million users—an increase of 13 million in less than a year compared to the 5 million Chinese men on Grindr.
This level of growth is all the more impressive considering how unfriendly the country is to the LGBT community: While homosexuality has been legal in the China since 1997, it’s estimated as many as 90% of gay men are in the country are in marriages of convenience to women.
But things appear to be changing: Thanks to its rapid growth, Blued has received $30 million in funding through DCM, a venture capital firm.
“Our development can make more people to see the value of the gay internet, as well as the diversity and progress of Chinese society,” said Blued CEO Geng Le, who added that the app’s valuation has outpaced many comparable social apps aimed at heterosexuals.
“Worldwide, gay social apps have shown strong demand and broad development space,” said David Chao of DCM. “As China’s first domestic gay-dating app, future internationalization mean a broader space for development.”
Eventually Le hopes to take Blued public. “The moment gay Internet companies can come to the international stage, the social significance will be far greater than the capital value.”
The Chinese gay dating app amassed 2 million users in its first year of operation. Of those 2 million users, 68.3% are monthly users, and 24% use the app daily.
Blued was first launched in August 2012 and is available on both Android and iPhone. Users are able to chat, send pics, and share content from Chinese language social media sites.