An ex-cop's connections

The Economist
Original Article:

MA BAOLI had served in the police force of the coastal city of Qinhuangdao for 16 years when, in 2012, his superiors delivered an ultimatum. During his spare time Mr Ma (pictured), who is now 37, had secretly been running a website for gay men,, which had begun to attract the attention of the local press. Outed, he was told he could either shut his site or hand over his badge. “They considered it a sensitive issue…that a policeman was gay,” Mr Ma says. “So I thought, I’ll just quit.”

Later that year Mr Ma set up a company, Blue City. It launched a male gay-dating app called Blued that helps locate potential partners using global-positioning technology. The app now has a staff of 60 and around 15m users, making it one of the most popular of its kind in the world. In November Blue City got $30m in funding from DCM Ventures, an American venture-capital firm. Mr Ma plans to expand his app’s user base to 20m-25m by the end of this year and to launch a sister one for lesbians, Pinkd.

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