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After Chinese Gaming Company Purchases Grindr, CEO Steps Down

Tuesday January 9, 2018

The founder and CEO of Grindr has officially stepped down from his position after a Chinese gaming company acquired full stake in the gay dating app.

Kunlun Group Limited purchased a majority stake in Grindr in 2016 and announced in May it would purchase the remaining stake and that founder Joel Simkhai would stay on as CEO.

Now that the deal has closed that isn't the case, as the company announced Friday Simkhai has left the company.

Yahui Zhou, chairman of Grindr's board, will serve as interim CEO and the company did not say why Simkhai departed, the L.A. Times reports.

"I'm beyond proud of what we've built as a team and how Grindr has been able to make a meaningful and lasting contribution to the global community," he said in a statement. "We have achieved our success because of the strength and global reach of our community. I look forward to Grindr and Kunlun's continued commitment to building tolerance, equality, and respect around the world."

Back in 2016, Kunlun Group Limited purchased 61.5% of Grindr for $93 million. In May 2017 it purchased the remaining 38.5% for an additional $152 million.

"This acquisition by Kunlun not only reflects Grindr's growing global prominence but also will assist Grindr and our family of brands in becoming the premium destination for LGBTQ community, news, information and culture," said Peter Sloterdyk, Grindr's vice president of marketing in a statement to the L.A. Times.

Grindr launched in 2009 as a gay dating/hookup app for gay men and men who have sex with men.
The L.A. Times writes it is "the largest LGBTQ-specific mobile social network... its key feature - quick match-making - has in recent years been mimicked by same-sex dating apps."

Kunlun Group Limited is based in Beijing and has been invested in mobile gaming apps. The Chinese government "has taken a strict stance against American social media companies and closely governs speech online," , adding, "Though China does not recognize same-sex marriage, Beijing has not stood in the way of home-grown gay dating apps such as Blued."

"On behalf of everyone at Grindr, we would like to thank Joel for his inspiration and service as the founder of Grindr, and wish him all the best in the future," Zhou said in a statement. "Looking forward, we are extremely excited about the excellent work Grindr is doing in becoming a leading global technology company, serving and supporting our users no matter where they are in the world."

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