GOOD MORNING FROM LONDON #164
In July 2020 Beijing based BlueCity Holdings, the parent company of Blued became the world’s first gay-focused social platform to go public raising $84.8, from its initial public offering on Nasdaq. The company was founded by Ma Baoli who built a business that runs from live streaming to health care + family planning. With 6.4m monthly users, Blued is the most popular gay dating app in China.
The arrival of Blued shows that a gay-focused business can survive + thrive in a country where homosexuality has long been taboo. Ma, a 43 year old former; policeman founded Blue City in a 3 bedroom apartment in suburban Beijing. Although it is not illegal to be gay in China, homosexuality was considered a mental disorder twenty years ago + even now, Nikkei Asia reports, social discrimination persists.
Today, Ma’s company market valuation is $335m + backers include Silicon Valley-based DCM Ventures, Xiaomi investment arm, Shunwei Capital + HK property group, New World Development, The company employs 500 people worldwide
Ma has worked with Chinese regulators + a photo of him shaking hands with Premier Li Keqiang hangs on his office wall.