The legalization of same-sex marriage in the U.S. has marked another milestone for equality. But in China, both government and society still lag far behind when it comes to gay rights.

Fortunately, one area is making leaps and bounds; tech.

Domestic internet companies are taking a more supportive tone to the special group. This February, Alibaba’s e-commerce marketplace Taobao together with four Chinese LGBT rights groups sponsored 10 Chinese gay couples to travel to Los Angeles and marry. Likewise, Tencent adopted a rainbow flag in a new “Color Fun” function for the Apple Watch version of its popular IM tool QQ

More and more communities, websites and apps are springing up to serve the gay community. Coolchuan, an app promotion service, released a report recently to shed some light on the emerging market of apps designed for gay people in China. So what does the market look like?

1. Gay Male Communities Rule The Chinese App Market

Most Chinese apps targeting the gay community are male-dominated. Lesbian circles are less visible in tech and in society in general, mainly because Chinese women are under more pressure to conform to traditional roles.


Download Growth of Gay VS Lesbian Apps in H1 2015

2. Lesbian-Focussed Apps Are On The Rise

Even though lesbian-focussed apps are only one tenth of those for gay men, it won’t stay that way for long. The report pointed out that China’s lesbian app sector recorded booming development since the beginning of this year, so the gap could soon be closing.


Download Growth of Lesbian Apps in H1 2015

3. Blued and Zank Top The List Of Most Popular Apps For The Gay Male Community

Believe it or not, the world’s largest gay dating app is born in China, where public attitude about homosexuality is still more in the closet than open. Blued, a Beijing-based gay app has overtaken popular app Grindr with an average of 15 million yearly users.

The report shows that Blued and its arch-rival Zank dominate Chinese gay app market. Both of them maintained robust growth in the 6 month reporting period, but Blued is clearly outperforming Zank at a faster growth speed.


Comparison of Download Growth for Gay Man Apps (Jan VS Jun)

4. There’s No Clear Winner In The Lesbian App Market – Yet.

While the current numbers are less impressive than those for men, lesbian focussed apps have an impressive growth rate, almost quadrupling in the past 6 months. The booming lesbian app market has give rise to a slew of leading services like TheL, LesPark and LesDo. However, unlike the more mature gay male app market, the lesbian app sector has yet to witness the emergence of an oligarchy app, every player in the field is still building up their initial user base.


Comparison of Download Growth for Lesbian Apps (Jan VS Jun)

5. Verticals Are Hot

Apps that focused on verticals recorded more rapid growth. The downloads of Queers, a networking app for gay and lesbians to find partners for sham marriages or co-operative marriages, soared 8465% in the first half of this year. Gay apps also go deeper into more vertical fields, GeeYuu for gaming networking, Aloha for photo-sharing, G-show for video networking.


Image Credit: Coolchuan

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via or Twitter.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.