Grindr is still facing problems in China. Bloomberg reports the gay dating app has faded away from Apple’s App Store in the country, with Qimai researchers estimating that the software was removed on January 27. There was no immediate explanation for the departure, but it came just days after China’s Cyberspace Administration launched a campaign to purge illegal online material, pornography and rumors before the Winter Olympics.
We asked Apple and Grindr for comment. The app’s departure came after weeks of problems with Grindr’s service, such as problems adding likes or sending messages.
Homosexuality is not a crime in China. Nonetheless, the country has occasionally censored gay and LGBT content. Bloomberg Remarks the National Radio and Television Administration recently used homophobic terms to castigate androgynous-looking men and called for a boycott of same-sex romance. If regulators ordered Grindr removed, it could have been part of this larger campaign to enforce social compliance.
That said, Grindr already had a strained relationship with the Chinese government. The company was owned by Chinese before being forced to sell due to US sanctions, and China-based rivals like Blued remain on the App Store despite Grindr’s demise. If these apps persist, their presence would suggest that China has chosen Grindr instead of targeting all gay dating apps.
Whatever the reasons, the removal highlights an ongoing problem for Apple and other overseas app store owners who want to operate in China. Although they may tout the importance of freedom and privacy in their home country, Chinese rules often require them to extract applications Where exclude features if they want to continue participating in one of the largest mobile device markets in the world. Simply put, companies like Apple have to compromise if they want to maintain a meaningful Chinese presence.