Paul Ramscar has created a mobile phone shopping “app” called the “Pink Dollar” for use in Japan that is a lot more than just another snippet of smart phone software: it is a social equality-changer that will help end discrimination against gays and lesbians.
“It’s not just an app, there is a bigger cause here,” said the former investment banker who hails from Britain and moved to Hong Kong in 2007.
Ramscar believes the software — soon to be launched on Apple iPhones and eventually Android devices — will break down cultural barriers in a city while benefiting the community and LGBT friendly establishments.
“Having lived in Europe, the culture was very open. In London, for example, there is Soho which is a gay area. You can be open, be free; walking around holding hands, there are no problems,” Ramscar said. “In Hong Kong you can’t really do that.”
Users will rate businesses’ LGBT-friendliness with a scale from light to hot pink. A hot pink rating is the friendliest. Those that receive bad reviews will be known and lose LGBT business.
Evan Steer, who has listed a restaurant and a bar with the app, believes it will make a difference.
“At the end of the day, money talks and where money flows, it can influence policy,” he said.
The LGBT market worth is estimated to be that of around $2-3 trillion globally a year.