Blued, China’s largest gay dating app has raised over $84.8 million in its Nasdaq initial public offering and is now looking to consolidate its presence in the global LGBTQI market. To that end in August, it has also acquired Chinese lesbian dating app LESDO.
Blued’s success and plans to expand the reach of its digital offerings come at a time when fellow Chinese app, the video sharing platform TikTok is facing pressure to sell its North American business to a US company.
BlueCity, the company that owns Blued, released its Q2 earnings that showed its total revenue was over $35 million, an increase of 32.2% from the same period in 2019. The company said that its average monthly users were around 6.4 million, an 11.2% increase from 2019.
Baoli Ma, BlueCity’s founder, chairman and chief executive officer said that the Nasdaq listing, which valued the company at $614 million, was a “significant milestone.” Ma, a former policeman, had founded Danlan.org, one of China’s oldest LGBTQI online forums, in 2000. A decade later in 2011, Ma resigned from the police and launched the Blued app.
“In China, the lesbian market is fragmented, with many small service providers lacking the ability to do sustainable product development or provide consistent services. LESDO represents a great opportunity for us to enter and consolidate the lesbian market. We will continue to enhance and improve services and deepen the connections within the community,” said Ma.
At the earnings call CFO Ben Li spoke about driving “further monetisation opportunities” by broadening the community beyond gay men through acqusitions. Acquiring LESDO fits in with this vision while also increasing its global presence. The company referred to a Frost & Sullivan Report that said that the global LGBTQI population was around 450 million in 2018, and was expected to grow to 591 million by 2023.
As of June 2020, Blued claims to have over 54 million registered users and much of its revenues this year came from its live streaming services ($29.8 million). This was followed by membership fees ($2.2 million), while advertising and other services including merchandise sale brought in $3 million. Most of its revenue was from China, though around 11% was from its global users.
For the second half of 2020, the company has projected revenue of over $80 million.