Earlier this year we reported that Grindr, the leading gay social app, was up for sale by Kunlun, the Chinese firm which acquired it in 2016, after a U.S. Government panel said it is a “national security risk.” The company’s plans for an IPO, which had been put on hold, are now reportedly back on.
CNBC reports: ‘Kunlun said in May it had agreed to a request by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to sell Grindr, setting a June 2020 deadline to do so and putting preparations for an IPO of Grindr on hold. A source familiar with the matter said on Monday that Kunlun’s efforts to sell Grindr outright were continuing even as the IPO preparations were relaunched.’
The BBC adds: ‘In a statement to the Shenzhen stock exchange, Kunlun said it suspended plans to list Grindr in 2018 because of “communication” with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The firm said CFIUS now had “no objection” to the listing, according to a translation of the statement. CFIUS is a US government body that reviews the national security implications of foreign investments in US companies or operations. … Kunlun said Grindr would be listed on a market outside China but no date for the listing was provided.’
After Kunlun agreed to sell the app by June 2020, CNN reported: “Until then, the firm says Grindr will not transmit any sensitive information to China, though it is not clear how that will be enforced. … While CFIUS has not revealed its reasoning behind the Grindr decision, [hacking] concerns may have been at play. Under Chinese cybersecurity law, companies doing business in the country must base their data there, raising concerns that the government could gain access to it. Chinese firms also have a history of sharing data with their government, and are often legally obliged to in cases when US officials would struggle to force companies to hand over sensitive information.”
Said Privacy International in a statement: “As government officials – including US military and intelligence services officers – may be Grindr users, the US government is right to be concerned about the possibility of a foreign government gaining access to the most intimate aspects of their lives. However, it is equally concerning that Grindr users from any country and background are at the mercy of a government, be it the Chinese or the US government.”