LGBT+ people in China represent a market worth $300bn per year – which has led many large companies in the country to market themselves as LGBT+ friendly. The Chinese state media has applauded these company policies, but there is a growing concern that these progressive attitudes are not always reflected in the workplace.
Companies of every size market to LGBT+ consumers in China, from startups who tailor their products and services to LGBT+ people, to global firms like Alibaba and Starbucks. However, the United Nations Development Program’s LGBT Community Report, which polled 30,000 LGBT+ people in China, found that only 5% of participants had told family, friends or colleagues about their sexuality – indicating that workplaces may be lagging behind advertising when it comes to inclusion. Some activists are optimistic, however, that large companies’ global inclusion policies will make a difference in the future.