New mobile games targeted for gay men in China hope to tap into a ‘blossoming’ pink economy.
Zhu Qiming is the CEO of mobile gaming development company Star-G Technologies, and is hoping to break into an otherwise unexplored market.
One game in the development stage will allow users to customize their own clothes and accessories, then network with other users and even marry within the game: ‘With rising social tolerance, people in the LGBTI community have begun to demonstrate their identity and meet other members of the community through a range of social activities, including games,’ Qiming told China Daily.
‘I see strong demand going unfulfilled, and that provides us with pink opportunities,’ he said.
The game is part of a growing market in China appealing to LGBTI people who are hoping to remain discreet.
The Chinese LGBTI community numbers at least 70 million people, according to the 2016 China LGBTI Community Report, and of this total, only 5% are completely out.
Qiming believes the essential ingredients of games for gay men are good-looking characters, hobbies such as working out, healthy lifestyles and fashion and a touch of eroticism.
Jai Xie is from Shenzhen in China and believes mobile technology has led to ‘dramatic changes’ in society for LGBTI people.
Xie completed a Master’s degree at King’s College London and focussed his research on queer issues in China: ‘It is easier for the LGBTI community to have casual sex, and it can break the spatial barrier as well.’
‘Using these apps can give users more privacy and protection,’ Xie told Gay Star News.
Blued, an international gay hook-up app headquartered in Beijing, has more than 27 million users, with 80% of users coming from China.
At the end of last year, Blued launched China’s first Pink Economy Innovation and Entrepreneurship Contest, which aims to stimulate the pink economy in China.
CEO of Blued, Geng Le, believes it’s still in the ‘sprout and growth stage’ but there is enormous potential.
He believes business is a smart way of raising the visibility of China’s LGBTI community and at the same time gaining greater social tolerance.
‘That’s one of the social merits of the booming pink economy that we cherish most,’ Le said.