How in Homophobic China, focusing on LGBT people helps to make moneyBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/en/article/how-in-homophobic-china-focusing-on-lgbt-people-helps-to-make-money
In ancient times, homosexuality was perceived neutrally in China, simply stating the fact that there are such people and everyone cannot be like each other. But in communist China, sexual minorities began to be treated with open hostility. Until recently, homosexual relations were a criminal offense, and any propaganda of same-sex relationships in The Celestial Empire is still banned. However, there are gays and lesbians in China and they cannot be ignored, especially if you are engaged in serious business.
Perhaps the population of China is somewhat exaggerated, but, nevertheless, there are a lot of Chinese in the world. Accordingly, there are many among them who have special sexual preferences. The purchasing power of tens of millions of non-traditional Chinese is estimated by experts at $ 300 billion. Agree that this figure is worth considering.
Until 1997, homosexuality in China was treated as a socially dangerous mental disorder, and for sex between same-sex partners could be put behind bars. The situation gradually improved, but the LGBT community has not yet seen a complete warming.
Propaganda of homosexuality on the Internet falls under the law prohibiting the demonstration of "pathological sexual behavior". Oddly enough, the demonstration of scenes of violence and a "luxurious lifestyle" falls under the same law.
Coincidentally or not, he was accepted just four months after same-sex marriages were allowed in Taiwan, which China considers its occupied territory. At the same time, very close by, in mainland China, according to the international organization Human Rights Watch, attempts were made in 2017 to medically treat homosexuality.
Despite this, business is not particularly cautious and openly flirts with LGBT people, not wanting to lose a huge consumer audience. 70 million homosexuals is the official figure, which may well be 30-50% higher.
The Chinese LGBT community is very sensitive about their rights and attitudes in society. A study conducted in 2016 by the Chinese organization WorkForLGBT showed that 50% of men and 62% of women of non-traditional sexual orientation, choosing a particular product, pay attention to how its manufacturer treats sexual minorities.
In this regard, large Chinese companies are not afraid to demonstrate their loyalty to LGBT people in their marketing programs. In 2015, Taobao, China's largest marketplace, part of the AliBaba group, even managed to hold a competition among same-sex couples, where a trip was provided as a prize. The 10 couples who won the competition went to Los Angeles for a week's vacation, where they also got the opportunity to get married.
Before the authorities banned the demonstration of propaganda on the Internet, companies shamelessly distributed materials showing support for LGBT people. Thousands of images with happy same-sex couples and corresponding advertising slogans were displayed on the network.
Today, brands are forced to carry out such actions in a veiled form, so as not to incur trouble. For example, at the beginning of 2017, the Chinese smartphone manufacturer Vivo published a video that called on gay couples not to be shy and introduce their partners to their parents.
In the Vivo shot, the young man comes home and tells his family: "Grandpa, Grandma, Mom, Dad, I want to tell you something. Actually, Siaocheng and I, we...". Then his companion interrupts him and adds: "Actually, we want to take a group photo!" While all the family members smile and wink at the guys, as if to make it clear that they understood what was actually being discussed.
Such a segment of the market as tourism shows excellent growth dynamics in China. Of course, there are special offers for LGBT people. Special tours abroad have been organized since 2008 by the Blue Ribbon company, thanks to which many other agencies with similar specialization have appeared on the market. The turnover of this industry is 5.6 billion dollars a year, and only in 2016 up to 30 percent of representatives of the Chinese LGBT community were able to go abroad for a vacation.
The Asian countries where there are no prohibitions on homosexual relations are in the greatest demand among this category of tourists: Thailand, Taiwan and the autonomous region of the People's Republic of China Hong Kong. Here gays and lesbians can relax and not think about conspiracy for a while, that is, openly express their emotions and feelings. The most affluent clients choose tours to the USA and Western Europe, where the situation is even more favorable. Unfortunately, due to the high prices, such trips are available to very few.
Dozens of specialized travel agencies for LGBT people are opening, but they are forced to work in the "gray zone". The websites of these companies are registered abroad, and they themselves avoid openly advertising their services. The Republic of China tolerates such travel agencies as long as they pay taxes carefully and do not affect the political situation in the country. If such a company crosses a barely noticeable line and starts advertising values alien to the communist ideology a little more actively, it will be closed, and the owner will be prosecuted.
At the beginning of the year, the Chinese gaming company Kunlun Tech acquired 60 percent of the shares of the gay dating service Grindr, one of the largest and most famous in the world. Joel Simhai, the owner and one of the founders of Grindr, is confident that it will now be much easier for the company to work in the huge and incredibly promising Chinese market.
But in In China, the service has a strong competitor - the BlueD dating service. Her story began in 2000, when police officer Ma Baoli opened the Danlan website, which helps representatives of the LGBT community to find each other. Despite the continuous machinations on the part of the authorities, who systematically blocked the dating service, Baoli did not give up and repeatedly restarted the blocked site.
The law enforcement officer himself was gay, but had a legitimate spouse — thus, up to 70 percent of Chinese homosexuals hide their true orientation. For 12 years, Ma Baoli walked on the edge, skillfully hiding his orientation and second job. But everything secret becomes clear and the authorities still found out about the secret life of their exemplary employee.
As a result, the man was kicked out of the service, and in addition he was forced to divorce. This did not break the now former policeman and he moves to live in Beijing, where he is creating a new BlueD project, which was destined to become mega-popular. It took the service only 4 years to get ahead of Grindr and collect 27 million users. So Baoli's brainchild became one of the largest LGBT dating sites on the planet.
Despite serious successes, Ma Baoli is not inclined to excessive optimism. In his interview with The New York Times, he said that, in his opinion, a radical shift in Chinese society towards homosexuals is possible in at least 20 years.
The Chinese authorities cannot ignore such a giant as BlueD and even cooperate with Baoli. The company's office is located in the very center of Beijing and free HIV status checks are regularly carried out there. An interesting detail is in Ma's office Baoli, above his desk, hangs his joint photo photo with Li Keqiang is the head of the Government of the People's Republic of China.