Cultural norms are ever changing. Only 50 years ago, in America an argument was made against granting African Americans the right to vote, eat, and sleep in the same places as whites. With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that China is going through its own cultural change. The current change is being led by the youth run technology organizations and their push for sexual orientation acceptance through social media. While the country is known for its censorship, as it pertains to social media the Chinese government has been surprisingly open. Although illegal, tech companies are now marketing towards the LGBT community in an effort to gain market share in the community.
According to Foreign Policy “56 per cent of LGBT men and 62 per cent of LGBT women in China say the most important factor influencing their purchasing decisions is company support for LGBT friendly policies and regulations.” With an LGBT market north of $300 billion annually, this is a huge indicator for businesses.
“Over the last two years, China’s leading car hailing app Didi Chuxing, top search engine Baidu, and popular karaoke app Changba have all run pro-LGBT social media campaigns. Chinese smartphone maker Meizu has launched a series of advertisements celebrating same-sex partnerships. China’s leading restaurant review app, Dianping, has created a dedicated website to promote LGBT-friendly establishments.”
Tech leader Alibaba has also joined in on the advertising, running a contest in early 2015 to award ten lucky LGBT couples with all-expense paid weddings in Los Angeles. With so much money at stake, the LGBT race is only starting. Only 5% of Chinese LGBT people are “out” which means there is plenty of opportunity for future business. As the LGBT community grows and becomes more public expect the estimated revenue to increase as well. Positioning for this market is important and begins for many tech companies, today.