The move comes just four years after Kunlun bought the app from its original creator, Joel Simkhai, in 2016. It also comes after the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a government watchdog group, ordered Kundun to sell off a majority stake in the company last year. With various apps and social media sites under increased scrutiny for sharing user information, the US government deemed Grindr a security threat with the potential to share all kinds of private information including HIV status, personal messages, and sexual orientation.
The identity of the buyers of Grindr remains unknown, though sources told Reuters one of the investors is James Lu, a Chinese tech mogul. Lu has not commented on the possible sale.
Grindr sports more than 4.5 million users and posted record-high revenue in 2019. Nevertheless, the app has come under fire for numerous allegations, including racial insensitivity, leaking user information, and not doing enough to prevent catfishing or other harassment of users. Heterosexual Chinese executives in charge of Grindr have also criticized the LGBTQ community and denounced marriage equality.