Gay Dating App Grindr Vanishes From China App Store

By BLOOMBERG

Grindr, a popular gay dating app, has been removed from Apple Inc.’s App Store in China, days after Beijing said it was going to renew its campaign to police online content.

The U.S.-owned app was taken off the iOS store last week, while searches for the matchmaking platform on Android produce no results on app markets run by domestic giants like Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Huawei Technologies Co. Alphabet Inc.’s Play Store, like other Google services, is unavailable in China. Local Grindr competitors, including Blued, remain accessible across iPhones and Android devices.

It’s unclear when Grindr disappeared from Chinese Android stores, while mobile research firm Qimai recorded that its iOS version was removed on Jan. 27.

Representatives of Grindr and Apple didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Grindr’s removal comes as China kicks off fresh efforts to regulate internet content ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics. The Cyberspace Administration of China last week announced a month-long campaign to crack down on online rumors, pornography and illegal content.

Some Grindr users in China reported connectivity issues over the past few weeks, including the inability to send and receive messages or add likes.

In 2020, the Chinese owner of Grindr, Beijing Kunlun Tech Co., sold the app to investors for about $600 million, after U.S. regulators required the divestment on national security grounds.

Last year, a slew of foreign internet services — including Yahoo, Microsoft Corp.’s LinkedIn and Epic Games Inc.’s Fortnite -– gave up on China, citing an increasingly challenging business and legal environment. China removed homosexuality from a national list of mental disorders about two decades ago, but Beijing censors have sporadically clamped down on entertainment and content with gay themes.