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China's gay dating app owner plans Nasdaq IPO in Pride Month

China's gay dating app owner plans Nasdaq IPO in Pride Month

3 -min read
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3 -min read
Listen to this article

[BEIJING] BlueCity Holdings, owner of China's biggest dating app for gay men, aims to raise US$50 million from an initial public offering of American depositary shares (ADSs), it said in a prospectus filed to the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday.

The listing comes as US exchanges look to apply more stringent rules on Chinese companies, following a string of accounting scandals that have burned some of the biggest names on Wall Street and drawn the attention of President Donald Trump. Nasdaq has proposed regulations including minimum fundraising thresholds and stricter requirements for auditors.

The offer price for each ADS is yet to be finalised, it said in the prospectus, adding that the ADSs will be traded on the Nasdaq global market under the symbol "BLCT".

"Being a public company will encourage us to continue expanding our brand globally, improving our corporate governance and optimizing our products and services for the LGBTQ community," Ma Baoli, founder and CEO of BlueCity Holdings, wrote in the prospectus.

The proceeds from the IPO will be used for market expansion to gain more users for the company's Blued dating app, as well as investment in technology such as artificial intelligence and data, BlueCity said in its prospectus.

Beijing-based BlueCity says it has 49 million registered users in over 210 countries. Users in regions outside of China, including India, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam, represented more than 49 per cent or 6 million of Blued's total monthly active users in March 2020.

The company said in its filing that it operates in certain countries and regions where anti-LGBTQ public policies are in place or same-sex relationships are illegal. China, Blued's primary market, hinted late last year that the country's legislative arm would review same-sex marriage in its civil code.

The firm was founded by former policeman Mr Ma, also known as Geng Le. The company reported a net loss attributable to ordinary shareholders of 27.9 million yuan (S$5.5 million) on 207 million yuan revenue in the three months ended March, according to the filing.

Besides providing dating services, BlueCity's app also offers live streaming and connects men who want to become parents with overseas surrogates. The services are part of its strategy to diversify revenue streams.

The US is currently celebrating Pride Month, held every June to mark the 1969 Stonewall rebellion in Greenwich Village, New York City. The US Supreme Court ruled in a landmark decision on Monday that workers can't be fired for being gay or transgender.

AMTD International, CLSA, Loop Capital Markets and Tiger Brokers are underwriters on BlueCity's share sale, the filing shows.

BLOOMBERG, REUTERS

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