Date
22 October 2019
Grindr will be listed on a stock exchange outside China, though the timing is yet to be decided, its Chinese owner said on Monday. Photo: Reuters
Grindr will be listed on a stock exchange outside China, though the timing is yet to be decided, its Chinese owner said on Monday. Photo: Reuters

Beijing Kunlun to revisit Grindr IPO

Gaming firm Beijing Kunlun Tech Co said on Monday that it will revive plans for an initial public offering of popular gay dating app Grindr, after a US national security panel dropped its opposition to the plan, Reuters reports.

Grindr will be listed on a stock exchange outside China, with the timing of the move to be decided according to overseas capital market conditions, Kunlun was quoted as saying in a filing to the Shenzhen stock exchange.

Earlier, Kunlun said in May that it had agreed to a request by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to sell Grindr, setting a June 2020 deadline to do so and putting preparations for an IPO of Grindr on hold.

A source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday that Kunlun’s efforts to sell Grindr outright are continuing even as the IPO preparations are relaunched.

CFIUS has not disclosed its concerns about Kunlun’s ownership of Grindr. However, the United States has been increasingly scrutinizing app developers over the safety of personal data they handle, especially if some of it involves US military or intelligence personnel.

Reuters reported in May that Kunlun had given some Beijing-based engineers access to the personal information of millions of Americans, including private messages and HIV status.

Kunlun said in May that it will shut down Grindr’s China operations and that it will not send any sensitive user data to China, in an effort to address concerns over data privacy.

Kunlun is one of China’s largest mobile gaming companies. It acquired a majority stake in Grindr in 2016 for US$93 million and bought out the remainder of the company in 2018. It did so without submitting the transactions for CFIUS review.

Kunlun’s control of Grindr has fueled concerns among privacy advocates in the United States.

US Senators Edward Markey and Richard Blumenthal sent a letter to Grindr last year demanding answers about how the app would protect users’ privacy under its Chinese owner.

– Contact us at [email protected]

RC