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|There are around 70 million LGBT people in China Adidas NMD R1 Clear Onix Pink Women's , who together have an estimated annual spending power of $300 billion
○ The relatively low rate of social acceptance gay people face and ambiguity of government policies has created uncertainty around investments in so-called "pink businesses"
People unfurl a rainbow flag during a gay pride parade in Taiwan, on October 30, 2016. Photo: IC
When Han Zongchuan decided to quit his job and plunge into the "pink economy," he was so optimistic about the future.
He soon found an investor in 2015 that gave him 1 million yuan ($145,400) to kick start his LGBT business Adidas NMD High Top Women's Black Pink , which made him hope his ambitions were soon to be realized.
He first intended to develop LGBT tourism and also cooperate with local governments to build elder care homes for LGBT seniors.
But in less than a year's time, Han had to accept failure. The government of Dalian, Northeast China's Liaoning Province, which had promised to support Han's elder care projects, suddenly turned its back on him with no explanation. The investor also took back his capital.
"I was in great despair back then. People keep saying that the pink economy is a blue sea which is full of opportunities. But according to my own experience Adidas NMD CS2 Womens , it's still not the time to start a company in this field in China," he told the Global Times.
The pink economy first came to public attention in 2015 after a flurry of media reports about how this group's economic potential was growing along with its visibility.
The 2015 China LGBT Community Report released by the China Pink Market Conference revealed that there are around 70 million LGBT people in China.
Because many of them do not have or plan to have children, they are thought to have more disposable income. Analysts estimate that they spend $300 billion annually.
"Besides Blued (a popular gay dating app which has raised hundreds of millions of yuan), other domestic companies catering to LGBT people can't be defined as successful so far," said Ah Qiang Adidas NMD R1 Carbon Womens , founder of PFLAG (Parents, Friends and Families of Lesbians and Gays) China.
Due to a lack of social acceptance and unclear government policies toward the community as well as the distance between investors and LGBT entrepreneurs, startups trying to get gold from the pink economy have found that road is bumpier than they had expected.
A business project is introduced during a contest of "pink business ideas" in Beijing. Photo: Courtesy of Blued
Too early to start
Han used to work at a State-owned company. In 2013, he joined the Beijing LGBT Center, a nongovernmental organization dedicated to advancing the cause of equal rights.
But he soon became frustrated United Arrows Adidas NMD Womens , finding it was near impossible to make progress with the little money and manpower available to the group.
"I then started thinking about exploring a new mode, combining business and public welfare together. Also, businesses can help bring the public's attention to the LGBT group," he said.
The statistics that some organizations have produced about the number of LGBT people and their consumption power in China gave his investor confidence, said Han.
Because the investor had some links with Dalian officials Adidas NMD Triple White Womens , they chose the city as the business's base. Han developed two tour routes, one in Southwest China's Yunnan Province and the other in Dalian.
Han says the local government welcomed them at first because they think "it can bring GDP growth."
All seemed well until the government official who promised to approve their projects refused to meet with Han any more, without offering a reason.
"Then my investor said that my deteriorating relationship with the government had brought him unnecessary attention. So he cut my funding," he recalled.
According to Ah Qiang, most startups in the pink economy are dating apps. Meeting people is tricky for gay people living in China Adidas NMD Triple Black Womens , and the apps can both facilitate this and help them keep a low profile. So far, there are about 10 major gay dating apps for on the market.
He blames the social taboo that makes covert dating apps popular for the scarcity of offline gay businesses.
"In China, most gay people are still unwilling to come out of the closet and let others know their sexuality. The rate of acceptance in society is improving, but still low. Therefore, most gay people will not choose services which openly state that they are tailored for gay people Cheap Adidas NMD R1 Womens , such as LGBT tourism," said Ah Qiang.
Han used to believe that LGBT tourism will be welcomed by the community. He wanted to provide trips where gay people can get to know each other and feel free to be who they are while traveling.
He trained tour guides to communicate with LGBT people and taught them how to avoid sensitive words that gay people don't like to hear.
Han's his first trip to Yunnan was free for travelers and seven tourists from all over the country participated.
To his surprise, he found that the open atmosphere he had hoped for never materialized, and most of the travelers were clearly not that comfortable with each other.
During the trip, he organized a visit to a gay bar in Kunming Adidas NMD R1 Womens Sale , capital of Yunnan. Two of the tourists asked whether he was trying to set them up somehow.
"They believed that hanging out in a gay bar will bring them attention from the police. It's ironic that even inside the community, there is a lack of trust," he said. Homosexuality was regarded as a crime in China until 1997 and was only removed from the official list of mental diseases in 2001. In the last two decades, gay people have continued to face discrimination in society. Their activities are sometimes shut down by police officers.
Wu Wenqing is in charge of brand promotion at Rela, a lesbian dating app. She and some friends used their
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