A Chinese gaming company has acquired all of Grindr, its founder Joel Simkhai announced last week.
Kunlun Group Limited, a mobile gaming company based in Beijing, purchased 61.5% of the popular male dating app in 2016 for $93 million. The remaining stake cost $152 million, according to Reuters.
Simkhai left Grindr as the deal came to light on January 5. Yahui Zhou, current chairman of the board, will serve as interim CEO.
Simkhai said in a statement (via PR Newswire):
“I’m beyond proud of what we’ve built as a team and how Grindr has been able to make a meaningful and lasting contribution to the global community. We have achieved our success because of the strength and global reach of our community. I look forward to Grindr and Kunlun’s continued commitment to building tolerance, equality, and respect around the world.”
Meanwhile, Zhou praised Grindr’s “excellent work” in becoming a leading tech company:
“On behalf of everyone at Grindr, we would like to thank Joel for his inspiration and service as the founder of Grindr, and wish him all the best in the future. Looking forward, we are extremely excited about the excellent work Grindr is doing in becoming a leading global technology company, serving and supporting our users no matter where they are in the world.”
Since its launch in 2009, Grindr has become the largest LGBTQ mobile social network, with more than 3.3 million daily active users. It also expanded through a digital lifestyle publication called Into.
Kunlun’s acquisition of Grindr suggests that the app will be under the Chinese government’s watch. Beijing, in particular, has been strict with American social media companies, according to the Los Angeles Times.
But while China does not recognize same-sex marriage, it has not stood in the way of local gay dating services. Among these is an app called Blued, which even bagged hefty investment from state-run media, TechNode reported.
What do you think of Grindr’s acquisition?