• An estimated 50 million to 70 million people in China identify themselves as LGBT.

An estimated 50 million to 70 million people in China identify themselves as LGBT. (Photo : REUTERS)

Beijing Kunlun Wanwei Technology, a Shenzhen-listed Chinese game developer, announced on Jan. 11 that it will spend around $93 million to purchase 98.4 million shares of the Los Angeles-based Grindr Holding Co., whose app has allowed users to meet people in their area, particularly gay and bisexual men, as reported by the Global Times.

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"The announcement of the deal does not only bring LGBT-related stocks into the A share market, more importantly, it sends out a signal that the gay community is everywhere, both in the economy and society," said Li Kui, chief brand officer of danlan.org, a gay information website.

In recent years, more LGBT-focused services have emerged, leading some to believe that there is growing acceptance for the gay community.

Danlan.org, set up in 2000, was originally just a gay information website. Since its inception, it has developed several Internet products aimed at the LGBT community like Blued, a social networking app, which the company claims has around 5 million registered users.

The company is currently focusing on campaigning for HIV prevention and anti-discrimination, as well as developing the company commercially, according to Li.

"We will make more commercial decisions this year, on advertisements and membership fees. To have the company listed on the stock market is our ultimate goal," said Li.

Feizan.com, a Chinese website founded in 2010 and dubbed the "gay Facebook," has also developed a dating app called ZANK.

"We are trying to get both economic and social value through offering gay people better services including entertainment and traveling," said Ling Jueding, founder of feizan.com.

Other gay Internet companies have evolved past offering services for their core market to engaging the rest of society.

Jiang Hui, one of the earliest members of Aibai Culture and Education Center (ACEC), which runs aibai.com, a gay information website, said that ACEC has started training teachers and firms.

"When aibai.com was founded in 1999, very few people knew about the LGBT community including the community itself, but now people can learn about it through various channels," said Jiang.

Two years ago, ACEC started teaching middle-school teachers about gay issues so that their students can make safer decisions.

ACEC is also working to make enterprises more gay-friendly. The company has organized training aimed at human resources professions that promote gay rights and encourage the recruitment of gay people, said Jiang.