BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s biggest gay dating app’s owner BlueCity is focused on expanding in Asia, its founder said on Wednesday after it made its Nasdaq debut despite a U.S. securities regulator warning against investments in Chinese firms.
BlueCity <BLCT.O>, which says its Blued app already has the largest market share in China, India, South Korea and Vietnam, raised $84.8 million in an initial public offering which valued the Beijing-based company at $614 million.
“We will make further expansion after in-depth evaluation,” BlueCity’s founder and chief executive Ma Baoli said when asked if the company would turn its focus to Western markets.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last month urged stock exchanges globally to tighten rules for Chinese companies.
Founded in 2011, BlueCity says it has 49 million registered users in more than 210 countries, and 6 million monthly active users (MAUs), 49% of them outside China.
Although India recently banned 59 Chinese apps, including Bytedance’s TikTok and Tencent’s WeChat, after border clashes with China, Blued was not on the list.
“We have faith in making the local government and regulator trust us,” Ma said, adding that the app’s data privacy protection met India’s standards.
Gay dating app Grindr was accused of leaking personal data to Beijing-based engineers last after it was bought by Beijing Kunlun Tech <300418.SZ>. Kunlun sold its Grindr stake last month after the U.S. government ordered the divestment.
“We are capable of conforming to local governments’ regulation requirements,” Ma said. “We store overseas customers’ data overseas out of security concerns and retrieval speed.”
Ma also said BlueCity is in the process of buying a Chinese lesbian app to diversify its business and revenue.
(Reporting by Colin Qian and Ryan Woo; Editing by Alexander Smith)