China tech firm eyes IPO for gay dating app Grindr

The Chinese parent company of the popular gay dating app Grindr on Tuesday said it will "restart" plans for a public listing after a US national security panel dropped its opposition to the move.

US authorities had earlier raised concerns about the potential misuse of the app's data by the Chinese government after Beijing-based Kunlun Tech Co Ltd acquired it in 2018.

The company had suspended earlier plans to list Grindr in 2018 after "communication" with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which reviews foreign investments deemed harmful to US , Kunlun Tech said in a filing with the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in southern China on Tuesday.

"But CFIUS no longer has any objections," the statement said, adding that "the company plans to relaunch the process of taking Grindr public".

The move comes as China and the US restarted talks to resolve a bruising war which includes a side skirmish in technology.

Grindr, which bills itself as "the world's largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans and queer people", has millions of users worldwide.

US officials had earlier feared that people with American security clearances who use the app could be blackmailed if China's government demanded user data from Kunlun Tech, The Wall Street Journal reported in March, citing unnamed sources.

CFIUS had earlier ordered Grindr to stop all operations in China, prompting Kunlun Tech to consider selling the app by end 2020, according to a company filing in May.

The mobile gaming giant paid $93 million for a 60 percent stake in Grindr in 2016, completing the full acquisition two years later for another $152 million.

Kunlun Tech said it was eyeing a listing "outside mainland China" in it's latest filing.

© 2019 AFP

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