China’s Kunlun completes acquisition of US gay dating app Grindr

Grindr Kunlun
Visual from Grindr Twitter page

China’s Kunlun Group, one of the largest mobile gaming companies in the world, has completed the acquisition of Grindr, a US-based dating app for gay men.

Kunlun, which acquired a 61.53 per cent stake in Grindr in January 2016, has acquired the remaining 37.4 percent stake of the dating app for $152 million, the Chinese firm said in a securities filing.

The acquisition values the social networking app at $395 million, up from just $245 million two years ago, and gives Kunlun 100 per cent stake in Grindr.

In a separate press statement, Grindr said its CEO and founder, Joel Simkhai, will exit the company. Yahui Zhou, the chairman of the board of Grindr, will serve as the interim CEO.

Grindr’s current vice-chairman Wei Zhou has been named as executive vice-chairman and chief financial officer while former Facebook and Instagram veteran Scott Chen joined Grindr as CTO, from 5 January 2018.

The company did not reveal the reason for Simkhai’s departure.

“I look forward to Grindr and Kunlun’s continued commitment to building tolerance, equality, and respect around the world,” Simkhai said, attributing Grindr’s success to the strength and global reach of its community.

Launched in 2009, Grindr has become the largest LGBTQ mobile social network site with over 27 million members and 3.3 million daily active users in every country in the world.

Grindr’s West Hollywood, California headquarter is manned by a team of over 100 employees.

It was not the first time that Kunlun invested in a social networking app for gay men. In May 2016, the company also invested tens of millions of RMB in Zank, a Chinese gay social networking mobile app.

Kunlun is the Internet games company that helped introduce Angry Birds to China.

A China Money Network report said China has over 70 million LGBT people as of December 2016, representing a $300 billion market.

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