chinaphotoChina:  Blued, a gay chat and hook-up app for Chinese guys has within two years of starting and encouraged by its 8 million users is now developing a similar app for lesbians to target the pink market.

Blued which first became available on Android and iOS at the end of 2012, is developing a lesbian version called Pinked and will be similarly tailor-made for the lesbian community.

Blued shows nearby users of the same app, along with a distance meter and you can chat with anyone that takes your fancy.

Earlier this year it received about RMB 10 million (US$1.6 million) funding to help it hire new staff and grow its user-base.

“Consumption of gay people has been proved very powerful in the United States, and we believe the potential is equal, if not larger, in China. We have statistics proving that,” the app’s founder, Geng Le, told Shanghai Daily.

Late last year, the flirty app had two million registered users, and now that’s grown to 8 million users or which about 20 percent are online at any given time.

Gang believes that China has as many as 70 million gay men and women, meaning the app has the potential for strong growth.

“Privacy, with no doubt, is the top priority,” he says. “After all, most gays haven’t come out even to their families. We made sure privacy is protected through various means, such as no traceable email addresses.”

Geng’s team is also about to launch a survey on gay and lesbian consumption in the Chinese market in August in Shanghai to tap the pink market.

“We have more spendable income,” he says. “First all, there is no family or kid, hence less financial pressure to support a family. Also, gay people often work very hard to be financially independent, so many are successful with high-income jobs.”

This group is known to spend a lot on travel, cosmetics, fashion, health, and design, among many other products and services, Geng said.

Jonathan Liu, a marketing specialist in a joint venture consulting firm agrees. “I did find myself spending a lot more than my colleagues and friends, especially married men with children,” he said.

It is well-acknowledged that gay men and women people have good tastes in terms of fashion, home deco and style which developed markets have been successful in targeting.

However, “In China, it has not been done yet, due to the ambivalent standard and regulations on whether or not it is taboo,” he said.

Nonetheless,  “increasing exposure of the LGBT community allows us to believe that this group will be seen as a powerful consumer group very soon,” Liu said.

Blued is Chinese-made, which is quite remarkable in a country where family-oriented traditions have long forced suppression of gay relationships in either men or women.