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'Pink Economy' set to soar as companies target LGBT community

By Shan Juan | China Daily | Updated: 2016-12-01 08:01

'Pink Economy' set to soar as companies target LGBT community

A gay man (right) prepares to have a free HIV test at a testing site jointly established by Beijing's disease control and prevention departments and Blued, a gay hookup app headquartered in the capital.[Photo by Blued/provided to China Daily]

Huge potential

The pink economy is set to become a major market. Industry analysts estimate that there are 400 million LGBT people worldwide and they spend more than $3 trillion each year.

China is the world's third-largest LGBT market, after Europe and the United States, and is valued at $300 billion per annum. The 2016 China LGBT Community Report estimates that China's LGBT community numbers at least 70 million people. The report-jointly released in November by organizations such as Blued, Rela (a widely used lesbian social networking app) and the global public relations agency Weber Shandwick-said the areas with the greatest potential include tourism, fashion, cosmetics, marriage planning, entertainment, and even surrogacy-which remains a gray area in China's legal framework.

A report on LGBT travel, published in 2012 by the World Tourism Organization, showed that members of the community tend to travel more and spend more than straight people during their trips.

Thomas Roth, president of Community Marketing & Insights, a consultancy in San Francisco that issues an annual report about the LGBT community, said the company is just setting out in China, and many other international businesses with experience of serving the LGBT community will soon begin looking at the emerging market in the country.

"Chinese companies will also expand their business focus into this new area very soon," he said.

Geng Le, of Blued, is ahead of the pack. In December last year, the company launched a live-streaming platform that quickly became a major source of revenue. It now has more than 100,000 users and is expected to generate hundreds of millions of yuan by the end of the year.

Geng is making big plans and aiming high. "We are trying to form a business circle to target LGBT communities and become a leading gay networking company," he said.

"Business development is the biggest charity (in the sense of raising awareness), particularly in the fight against LGBT-related social discrimination and stigma," he added.

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