Gay dating app Grindr disappears from China’s app store

(Bloomberg) — Grindr, a popular gay dating app, has been pulled from Apple Inc.’s App Store in China, days after Beijing announced it would renew its campaign to control online content. .

The US app was pulled from the iOS store last week, while searches for the matchmaking platform on Android yield no results in app marketplaces run by domestic giants such as Tencent Holdings Ltd. . and Huawei Technologies Co. Alphabet Inc.’s Play Store, like other Google services, is not available in China. Local Grindr competitors, including Blued, remain accessible on iPhones and Android devices.

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

Representatives for Grindr and Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Grindr’s withdrawal comes as China launches new efforts to regulate internet content ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics. China’s Cyberspace Administration last week announced a month-long campaign to crack down on online rumours, pornography and illegal content.

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Some Grindr users in China have reported connectivity issues in recent weeks, including being unable to send and receive messages or add likes.

In 2020, Grindr’s Chinese owner, Beijing Kunlun Tech Co., sold the app to investors for around $600 million, after US regulators demanded 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 – have dropped out of China, citing an increasingly difficult business and legal environment. China removed homosexuality from the national list of mental disorders about two decades ago, but censors in Beijing have sporadically cracked down on gay-themed entertainment and content.

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