Grindr No Longer Available Through Chinese App Stores

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday January 31, 2022

Hookup app Grindr is reportedly no longer available to users through app stores in China, a development that follows an announced crackdown on internet content by the communist country's authorities, The Verge reported.

"The app reportedly disappeared from the iOS App Store on January 27th," The Verge detailed. The popular dating app also went missing from "the country's popular Android app stores — which are operated by local companies like Huawei and Tencent in the absence of the Google Play Store," the article noted.

"Some Grindr users in China reported connectivity issues over the past few weeks, including the inability to send and receive messages or add likes," reported Bloomberg, which first broke the story.

"Grindr's removal comes as China kicks off fresh efforts to regulate internet content ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics," the Bloomberg article also said. "The Cyberspace Administration of China last week announced a month-long campaign to crack down on online rumors, pornography, and illegal content."

Even so, "Local Grindr competitors, including Blued, remain accessible across iPhones and Android devices," Bloomberg observed.

Bloomberg recalled that "China removed homosexuality from a national list of mental disorders about two decades ago, but Beijing censors have sporadically clamped down on entertainment and content with gay themes."

Censorship targeting apps in China goes beyond those concerned aimed at LGBTQ+ users, though. "App store removals have become common in China in recent years, and have hit services focused on everything from news, to podcasts, and maps, apparently due to fears they could be used to access unsavory content or facilitate activities deemed illegal in the country," The Verge said.

"Gaming apps have also proved to be a frequent target, with tens of thousands having been removed. Last year a popular Quran app also disappeared."

Some companies have grown weary of China's limiting the online market, Bloomberg noted.

"Last year, a slew of foreign internet services — including Yahoo, Microsoft Corp.'s LinkedIn, and Epic Games Inc.'s Fortnite — gave up on China, citing an increasingly challenging business and legal environment," the article said.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.