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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Another innovative American tech company swallowed up by the Chinese

Not so long ago, American pols were getting upset about the new Yellow Peril: Japan was buying up iconic American businesses, and the end of the world was nigh.

The were, as usual, wrong, and Japan promptly went into a decades-long economic stall.

But the great thing about the politics of fear and envy is that, when one “other” fades, you can just slot a new group’s name into the stock phrases. Thus the Japanese Yellow Peril has become the Chinese Yellow Peril, as companies whose leaders have watched and learned well from the lessons of American corporate globalism have come ashore, snapping up IBM’s PC business, the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, and Smithfield Hams.

The dozen or so Republican presidential candidates bray about China daily. They want to protect American business, and bring home that which has already been packed up and carted off to Beijing.

In this week’s Republican debt on Fox, then, surely the candidates will be in full cry over this latest loss of American technology, as reported by Fast Company:
Grindr, the popular dating app for gay men, has sold a 60% stake to Chinese gaming company Beijing Kunlun Tech for $93 million, according to the New York Times. The $93 million investment now values the six-year-old dating app at $155 million. The remainder of the company’s shares continue to be owned by its employees and Grindr founder and CEO Joel Simkhai. 
"For nearly seven years, Grindr has self-funded its growth, and in doing so, we have built the largest network for gay men in the world. We have taken this investment in our company to accelerate our growth, to allow us to expand our services for you, and to continue to ensure that we make Grindr the number one app and brand for our millions of users," Simkhai wrote in a company blog post. 
Simkhai added that despite the investment, "It will generally be business as usual for us here at Grindr, but with a renewed sense of purpose and additional resources to deliver a great product to you." 
Beijing Kunlun Tech's investment allows it to expand into other global markets besides gaming. Grindr launched in 2009 and quickly grew to become one of the most popular dating apps for gay men. It currently has 2 million active daily users in 196 countries who spend an average of 54 minutes on the app daily.
Republicans have always been early embracers of new social media technology. Puerto Rican commonwealth senator Roberto Arago in 2011, and North Dakota state representative Randy Boehning in 2015, both were outed when their Grindr profiles seemed at variance with their aggressively antigay legislative programs. Pima County, AZ sheriff Paul Babeu’s 2012 congressional campaign ran off the rails after his Mexican boyfriend claimed Babeu threatened to deport him if he didn’t keep quiet about their affair; the two met on, a Grindr competitor.

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