Capital Watch
BlueCity Holdings Ltd.
Company Profile
Industry: Internet
Sub-Industry: Social Networking App
BlueCity operates the largest LGBTQ online platform in Asia, Blued, counting more than 49 million registered users as of March 2020. What launched as a social forum in 2000 under the name, powered by a single founder – a closeted policeman Baoli Ma, today offers various unique services including HIV awareness and prevention, medical consultation and health services, and family planning.
Blued continues to be the preferred platform of the LGBTQ community in China, India, Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam, for social networking, dating, and live-streaming content such as talent shows, matchmaking, comedy, and other forms of expression and entertainment.
Blued’s average mobile active user count was at 6 million in the first quarter of 2020. Users outside of China made up 49% of total MAUs in March, according to company filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Worldwide, Blued has users in over 210 countries and regions and seeks to expand its global footprint and product offerings overseas. The app’s main users are men; hence, a significant potential for growth can be expected amongst female users.
Globally, the online LGBTQ market, which includes consumer spending and marketing expenditures devoted to the LGBTQ community totaled $261.5 billion in 2018, according to independent consultancy firm Frost & Sullivan Research. By 2023, the market is expected to more than double to $580.4 billion, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.3%.
The LGBTQ online social and entertainment market segment saw global revenue of $2.7 billion in 2018 and is anticipated to reach $6.2 billion in 2023. Meanwhile, China’s online health consulting and online pharmacy market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 25.3% to $3.6 billion in three years. The global assisted reproductive technology (ART) consulting services market is growing at a CAGR of 20.1%, expected to reach $417.6 million in 2023, Frost & Sullivan reported. By 2023, the number of people who identify as LGBTQ is expected to grow to 591 million from 450 million in 2018, according to figures cited in the prospectus.
BlueCity has announced four public rounds of financing between February 2014 and February 2018. According to Crunchbase, it has raised a total of $131.6 million in Series A through D fundraisings. Among the company's backers is Vision Knight Capital (VKC), a consulting-first private equity fund founded by Zhe (David) Wei, former chief executive of Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA; HKEX: 09988). Wei has served as a director of BlueCity since 2016. Prior to the IPO, he held a 4.4% stake in BlueCity. For 2019, BlueCity posted revenues of $107.2 million, up 51% year-over-year. Net loss narrowed 63% to $7.5 million, according to the filing. For the first quarter, it reported revenue of $29.3 million on losses of $1.1 million.
Corporate Information
Block 2 Tower B Room 028, No. 22 Pingguo Shequ, Bai Zi Wan Road, Chaoyang District Beijing 100022
Phone: +86 10 5876-9855
Key Executives
Mr. Baoli Ma, CEO
Mr. Baoli Ma is the company’s founder and chairman and has served as director and chief executive officer since the company’s inception. In 2000, Baoli, then a closeted policeman by the alias “Geng Le”, founded one of China’s first and most influential LGBTQ online forums, is the predecessor of BlueCity. After resigning as a policeman in 2011, he was determined to fully devote himself to social awareness activities for the LGBTQ community. Mr. Ma’s achievements have been widely recognized by numerous awards. He was awarded the Boldness in Business Awards from Financial Times in 2016 and selected as one of the “Top Global Thinkers” by the U.S. magazine Foreign Policy in 2017. Mr. Ma is currently attending “Lakeside University,” a senior executive training program founded by Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group.
Mr. Zhiyong (Ben) Li, CFO
Ben has served as the company’s chief financial officer since June 2019. Prior to joining BlueCity, Li served multiple positions in GDS Holdings Limited (Nasdaq: GDS) from 2007 to 2019, with the last position held as finance vice president from 2014 to 2019. Li worked as an associate in PricewaterhouseCoopers Zhong Tian LLP, Beijing Branch from 2005 to 2007. Li received his bachelor’s degree in national economic management from Renmin University of China in 2005.
Mr. Liang Zhao, CRO
Zhao joined BlueCity since April 2015 and has served as the chief risk officer since October 2017. Prior to BlueCity, Mr. Zhao was an entrepreneur and founded a business providing pet related services from 2011 to 2015. Mr. Zhao worked as a manager in Phoenix New Media Ltd. (NYSE: FENG) from 2004 to 2009. Mr. Zhao received his bachelor’s degree in law from China University of Political Science and Law in 2004.
Mr. Yuanchen (Calvin) Liu, CTO
Liu has served as company’s chief technology officer since March 2014. Prior to BlueCity, Liu served as a research and development manager at Baidu, Inc. (Nasdaq: BIDU) from 2007 to 2014. Liu worked as a software engineer at Sina Corporation (Nasdaq: SINA) from 2005 to 2007. Liu received his bachelor’s degree in information management and information system from Jilin University in 2002, and his master’ degree in management science and engineering from Jilin University, Business School in 2005.
Investor FAQs
1. When was BlueCity established?
In September 2011, Beijing BlueCity Culture and Media Co., Ltd., was established in China, and the company launched its mobile app Blued in 2012.
2. When does BlueCity's fiscal year end?
BlueCity's fiscal year ended Dec. 31.
3. On which exchange is BlueCity's stock traded, and what is the ticker symbol?
BlueCity’s stock is traded on the Nasdaq Global Market under ticker symbol “BLCT".
4. How many BlueCity ordinary shares does one American Depositary Share (ADS) represent?
Each two American Depositary Share represents one class A ordinary shares.
5. Where can I obtain a copy of BlueCity's annual report?
Annual reports are available via this website. All SEC documents are also accessible online through the SEC Filings page.
6. Who is BlueCity's U.S. legal counsel?
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.
7. Who is BlueCity's Depositary Bank for ADSs?
BlueCity's Depositary Bank in the U.S. is Deutsche Bank AG.
8. How many employees does BlueCity have?
As of March 31, 2020, Bluecity has a total of 488 employees.
9. Where do IPO proceeds go?
The company plans to use the net proceeds they receive from this offering for (i) geographic expansion, (ii) investment in technology and development, artificial intelligent technology and big data capacity in particular, and (iii) general corporate purposes.
Board Members
Mr. Zhe (David) Wei, Director
Wei has served as company’s director since June 2016. Wei has over 20 years of experience in both investment and operational management in China. Prior to launching Vision Knight Capital, a private equity investment fund, in 2011, Wei served for five years as an executive director and the chief executive officer of Limited, a leading worldwide wholesale e-commerce company wholly owned by the Alibaba Group. Wei received his bachelor’s degree in international business management from Shanghai International Studies University in 1993 and EMBA degree from London Business School in 1998.
Rong (Ruby) Lu, Independent Director
Ms. Rong (Ruby) Lu is a venture capitalist investing in technology start-ups in the U.S. and China. In October 2019, she founded Atypical Ventures, an early-stage technology venture investment firm in China. In 2006, she co-founded DCM China (the “DCM”), an early-stage venture capital firm. During her more than 12-year tenure at DCM, she invested in and served as a board member for many leading technology companies including BitAuto Holdings Limited, E-Commerce China Dangdang Inc. and Pactera Technology International Ltd. Lu is currently an independent director on the board of Uxin Limited (Nasdaq: UXIN) and Yum China Holdings, Inc (NYSE: YUMC). Lu received her master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Shengwen (Roy) Rong, Independent Director
Mr. Shengwen (Roy) Rong currently serves as an independent director of Qudian Inc. (NYSE: QD), X Financial (NYSE: XYF) and MOGU Inc. (NYSE: MOGU). From February 2017 to September 2018, Mr. Rong served as the senior vice president and CFO at Yixia Technology Co., Ltd, a leading live video broadcast and short-video platform in China. Rong received his bachelor’s degree in international finance from Renmin University in 1991, master’s degree in accounting from West Virginia University in 1996, and MBA degree from University of Chicago Booth School of Business in 2000. Mr Rong is a Certified Public Accountant in the United States.
Wenjie (Jenny) Wu, Independent Director
Ms. Wenjie (Jenny) Wu is an independent non-executive director of Kingsoft Corporation Limited (3888.HK) and Xunlei Limited (Nasdaq: XNET). Ms. Wu served as the chief investment officer of New Hope Group from November 2018 to February 2020. Wu served as managing partner of Baidu Capital from 2016 to 2018. Wu was an equity research analyst covering China Internet and Media industries at Morgan Stanley Asia Limited and at Citigroup Global Markets Asia Limited from 2005 to 2011. Ms. Wu has a Ph.D. degree in finance from the University of Hong Kong, a master’s degree in finance from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and a master’s degree and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Nan Kai University, China. Ms. Wu has been a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) since 2004.
IR Contact
Ms. Kong, Lingling
Head of Investor Relations