Guardian: Gaydar sets up China networking site (April 30)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Gaydar sets up China networking site

* Jemima Kiss
* Wednesday April 30 2008

This article was first published on on Wednesday April 30 2008. It was last updated at 13:42 on April 30 2008.

The gay and lesbian media company Gaydar is expanding its empire into China, the world's largest internet market, with a social networking portal that will target a gay population of more than 50 million people.

The new brand GaydarNation China will launch later this year for the gay and lesbian communities across China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Malaysia, among what Gaydar describes as a new climate of "tolerance and open-mindedness towards its gay community".

"It is probably nowhere near as free as the UK and others places where legislation has really helped the cause of gay and lesbian people," said a spokeswoman.

"But in the past few years, there have been gay bars and clubs opening in the major cities and even some Pride events starting up."

Gaydar's parent company, QSoft Consulting, is launching the site as a joint venture with the web and mobile media firm GoConnect.

Go Connect has provided support for advertising on Gaydar's Australian website for six years, but will be using their existing relationships and market knowledge of China to set up GaydarNation China.

Web companies publishing inside China have to apply for an "internet content provider" licence from the government, but Gaydar says it can bypass this by hosting the site, with GoConnect, from Australia.

The spokeswoman added, though, that they did not know of any similar service existing in China.

Progress, she explained, included the dropping of homosexuality from the country's mental illnesses register in 2001 and a government health campaign around Aids prevention in the gay community, started earlier this year.

The site will run in partnership with the web and mobile advertising specialists GoConnect, building on a six-year relationship in Australia, where GoConnect provides advertising for

The first version of the Chinese site will include news, community information, directory listings and a dating service, and will later be expanded with travel and entertainment news.

QSoft, which supports the Sydney Mardi Gras, will also be looking at supporting similar events within China under the new brand.