Jeffrey Towson

Disney’s movie Beauty and the Beast has not been released in Malaysia for a overtly gay scene. In China it was not problem, triggering off much attention also from state-owned media. Other countries have already discovered the LGBT community as an attractive group of consumers, and Beida business professor Jeffrey Towson discusses at his weblog this emerging community in China.

Jeffrey Towson:

China has a huge gay and lesbian population and a growing LGBT (ie., pink) economy. Both of which have been emerging in the recent years. Estimates put China’s LGBT population at likely 40-100M. Not only is this the largest LGBT population in the world, it is actually larger than the entire population of Malaysia (approx 31M).

China is the world’s most populous nation so it stands to reason it has, or will have, the largest gay, lesbian and transgender population. Definitely larger than the population of Malaysia and probably larger than the populations of the UK and Germany. And in the last 2-3 years, this population has been increasingly visible. For example, in May 2016, China’s second annual LGBT job fair was held. It attracted 34 companies and over 500 job seekers. Companies participating included Morgan Stanley, Starbucks, Citi, 3M and Didi Chuxing. Also in 2016, Taobao and Blued, the largest Chinese gay dating app, held an online content to choose 6 same-sex couples to fly to West Hollywood to get married. Over 2,000 couples sent in videos for the contest.

There is also increasing discussion about the emergence of China’s “pink economy”. One area within this that is getting significant attention is tourism. This demographic typically spends more time and money than heterosexual groups on lesiure (tourism, entertainment) and personal image building (gym, beauty, physical therapy).

Another current area of interest in China’s LGBT economy is dating apps. Market leader Blued now has over 15M members in China alone, making it the largest gay dating service in the world. And it was only founded in 2012. And while Grindr is probably the world’s most famous gay dating app, this is actually also Chinese, having been purchased by Beijing Kunlun for $93M. Note: Grindr has 10M registered users compared to Blued’s 15M.

More of Jeffrey Towson’s weblog.

Jeffrey Towson is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers’ request form.

Are you looking for more experts on cultural change at the China Speakers Bureau? Do check out this list.



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