One of China’s biggest mobile gaming companies is selling popular gay dating app Grindr for US$608 million after pressure from US authorities concerned over the potential misuse of user data.
National security officials in Washington fear the platform – which bills itself as the world’s largest social networking space for LGBT people – could be used by the Chinese government to blackmail Americans with government security clearances, according to media reports last year.
Beijing Kunlun Tech took a majority stake in the app in 2016 and bought the remaining equity two years later for a combined $245 million, but was reportedly ordered to relinquish the platform by US officials last year.
It will sell a 98.59% stake in Grindr to San Vicente Acquisition, a holding company based in the US state of Delaware, according to a company filing with the Shenzhen Stock Exchange on Friday.
The deal is awaiting approval from a US committee authorized to review transactions involving foreign investments, the filing said.
Grindr has faced other accusations of improperly managing the data under Beijing Kunlun’s ownership.
The platform violated European Union privacy regulations by sharing the GPS data, age and gender of its users with third-party companies to help target advertisements, according to a report by a Norwegian consumer rights group.