In China, it is getting easier to find love and connection for the LGBT community than ever before. There are of course, still massive hurdles to overcome in what is in many places still a very traditionally-minded society, but if you know where to look there are positive signs.
And one place to look is on your smartphone.
Apps like Grindr and Blued allow the LGBT community the same luxuries as the straight communities that regularly access apps like Momo and Tantan (which serve the same functions as Tinder but with local twists).
By far, Blued is the most popular gay dating app in China. Created by an ex-policeman Mao Baoli, who goes by the name “Geng Le”, Blued has been valued at over 300 million dollars and has made Ma a very rich man. The app had over 27 million users worldwide as of February 2016.
Blued links you to another person by calculating your physical distance from one other. As with most dating apps, users can search according to key information, in this case according to factors like age, race, ethnicity, and occupation. Blued is available in many countries across the world and is offered in many languages.
All within 1km [pc6]
Despite being founded in 2012, Blued only started to turn a profit at the beginning of 2016, and Chinese state media began to reference what was termed the “pink economy” in reference to money being made from the LGBT community.
Many users on these apps are just out there for the sex, and they are not afraid to show it. Many profiles feature scandalous photos and raunchy pick-up lines.
Ian Bananno, a student from American University who is undertaking an exchange program at Peking University, describes his thoughts on Grindr and Blued. In regards to Grindr he says “In the United States it is mainly for one time hookups and here in China guys use it to form more long-term meaningful connections”.
Ian was surprised at how much English is used by the Chinese natives that communicate with him via Grindr. Also, he mentions that Grindr seems to contain more international profiles. He believes that this is because Grindr comes from the United States and it more difficult to use in Beijing. Describing accounts of some claiming they need a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to access the app. Ian himself has never encountered an issue getting on the app without a VPN.
As for Blued, Ian thinks “it seems like Tinder and Grindr put together. Some guys want a hookup. Some want a boyfriend. Some want friends”. He goes on to mention that when compared to Grindr, Blued offers more features, and has a WeChat type feel to it. This is because you can post on your profile like one would post moments on WeChat, or pictures on Facebook.
“B type blood? Perfect.” [pc6]
Like many who use dating applications, Ian often uses the mobile chat aspect of the apps to gauge the kind of person he is communicating with. One of the things that turns him away from someone is when they directly ask what he is looking for. While he enjoys more conversation in his encounters, others enjoy the direct approach much more.
Whether you are gay or maybe even just curious, both the applications are worth checking out. Both can be found in most app stores and are free of cost.
For more online dating, here are some more services.