Chinese Tech Billionaire Acquires Gay Dating App Grindr

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Zhou Yahui's company Beijing Kunlun Tech Co. offers $93 million for a 60 percent stake in New Grindr LLC.

Beijing Kunlun Tech Co., the Chinese Internet game developer run by billionaire Zhou Yahui, is to purchase a controlling stake in U.S. gay dating app Grindr. 

Bloomberg reports that Beijing Kunlun has offered $93 million in cash for a 60 percent share of New Grindr LLC. The Grindr acquisition is one of a raft of deals that Zhou, worth a reported $1.7 billion, has undertaken in recent months. Beijing Kunlun said the addition of Grindr would broaden its portfolio and provide a new source of income. 

There was no word on whether Beijing Kunlun planned to take Grindr to China, although there has been a general liberalization of attitudes to homosexuality in Chinese society.

China decriminalized homosexuality in 1997, and it was only removed from the Ministry of Health's list of mental illnesses in 2001. In 2005, Ang Lee's Oscar-winning cowboy romance Brokeback Mountain was banned from release in cinemas, despite the director's star status in greater China. In 2010, China's media watchdog removed homosexuality from its list of taboo subjects deemed too pornographic or vulgar for public consumption.

Chinese film Seek McCartney, about two men involved in a secret cross-cultural relationship, recently became the first gay film to pass the country's notoriously stringent censors. However, LGBTQ groups in China are still barred from registering as official non-governmental organizations, and activists frequently face official harassment, particularly when they try to publicize events and campaigns.

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