Grindr Removed From Chinese App Stores Days Before the Winter Olympics

Molly Wright

Molly Wright is an intern for dot.LA. She previously edited the London School of Economics' student newspaper in the United Kingdom, interned for The Hollywood Reporter and was the blogging editor for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

Grindr Removed From Chinese App Stores Days Before the Winter Olympics
Ivan Radic/Flickr
West Hollywood-based dating app Grindr has fallen victim to China’s most recent internet crackdown.

According to Bloomberg, the popular gay dating app has been removed from Apple’s App Store in China—with Grindr operators in the country taking it down in order to comply with China’s Personal Information Protection Law, which went into effect at the end of 2021. The law limits personal information stored in the apps and requires that data exchanged between China and other regions be approved by the Chinese government.

Grindr is also no longer available on app markets run by Chinese mobile giants Tencent and Huawei and accessible via Android devices, Bloomberg reported. Google’s Play Store, along with Google’s search engine and other services, are not accessible in China due to the mainland’s “Great Firewall.”

The iOS version of the dating app disappeared from the App Store on Jan. 27; its removal coincides with China’s plans to clamp down on online content ahead of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing and the Chinese Lunar New Year. Last week, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) announced a monthlong campaign targeting unlawful digital content including online rumors, child pornography and “ill natured” activities.

Though homosexuality is not technically illegal in China, there have been numerous reports of the state’s intolerance toward the LGBTQ+ community, often amplified through its tech sector. In July 2021, Tencent removed dozens of university students’ LGBTQ accounts from the popular social network WeChat. In 2018, social media site Sina Weibo pledged to remove gay-themed posts, while Chinese TV censors banned content depicting same-sex relationships in 2016.

Founded in Los Angeles in 2009, Grindr was acquired by Chinese tech firm Beijing Kunlun Tech in 2016. Kunlun sold the app to U.S.-based investors for more than $600 million in 2020, amid pressure from U.S. regulators due to security concerns.

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