The maker of China's first social networking app, Zank, denies copying a popular U.S. gay app and says the company differentiates its service by prioritizing common interests among its members.
Released last month, Zank looks like a copycat version of the popular app Jack'd which also targets gay men. However, its founder who goes by the nickname "Lin Jueding", said when his team developed the app three months ago, it wanted to differentiate the service by placing shared interests and communication as a higher priority--instead of promoting sex.
Different from the "hook up or shut up" style Jack'd adopts, he said Zank highlights various events organized by its subscribers, individuals or gay organizations on its front page, allowing all users to check the event time and venue. It also lists the organizer's particulars such as picture, height, and weight. Interested users can sign up for the events through the app or chat with each other online.
Lin was also the founder of China's first gay social network site, Feizan.com, which has over 300,000 registered users. The site adopts the same rule as Zank, promoting members' shared interests rather than sex, he said.
He noted that a significant trait among gay users is loyalty. As they are in a minority group in China, gay men tend to have a sense of recognition toward a gay social network product. "It is our product," said Lin.
A user comment on Zank from Apple's App Store reads: "Fabulous, it is the best gay app in China. I feel our gay community is receiving more attention now and I am very proud of this." Such user comments give Lin the reason and motivation to improve the app, he said.
Zank currently relies on its parent site, Feizan.com, for marketing and to provide value-added services such as subscription services. Members of Lin's all-gay team are from leading IT companies in China such as Baidu, Sina, and JD. But to increase diversity, the founder said he would consider recruiting lesbian and heterosexual members in future.