With Facebook being banned from entering the social networking market in China. This is fertile ground for other social networks to stake a claim in China. My previous article, I looked at Qzone. This article is going to look at the fourth social networking site called Renren. I told you earlier about the Russian Facebook, Renren is considered to be the Facebook of China.
What is Renren?
Renren (which means everyone) is a social networking site one of the largest in China. It was started in 2005 under the name Xiaonei (which means on campus). It is known as the Facebook of China because it is similar to Facebook which what it does and its history. Renren started off at elite universities and then spread to the general public. In 2009 it started a campaign to encourage people to use Renren to connect with their classmates, old and new friends. This approach has meant that it is one of the biggest rival to all the other social networking sites in China as it tries to target all demographics. The campaign was interesting as it was not only limited to digital advertising making people aware that Xiaonei was now Renren. The traditional advertising format was used with television ads and print ads.
While it might have started as a copy of Facebook with its look and feel this has changed. Renren still has some similar features to Facebook such as: Like, Places and Groups. But it also has its own features such as: Journal and Couple Profile Page. Yes that’s right a couple page which you can ask your friends to follow so they know what you and your loved one are up to. The fan pages are concepts shared by both networks. But Renren does it differently. For example, brands have to cough up 600 000 yuan (which is about $90 000) for a fan page which is free on Facebook. But these fan pages are different to the ones on Facebook because there are like mini-sites. These pages are more detailed and interactive. But this does not mean that there are many brands that have chosen to use Renren to advertise and engage with digital users. To have a fan page one has to apply beforehand and currently Renren only accepts 100 applications a day and there is no guarantee that your application will be successful. But there are big brand such as Maybelline and Nike who have fan pages.
Renren is an exciting social networking site because in May it made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange. While it might not be big as Facebook it has taken this step in order to grow further from its base. One must remember that Facebook hasn’t gone public yet. Before going public Renren was valued at $4.3 billion which is good for a company that is debt free and has various short term investments that make it cash rich. It also backed by various American venture capitalists such as: DCM, General Atlantic and Accel Partners (they also finance Facebook).
Renren has 170 million users and from that number 95 million are active users. According to Alexa the traffic Renren receives ranks its 83rd in the world and 16th in China. With its new approach of having a social network for everyone the campaign attributed to of an increase of 60 million registered users within a year of changing from Xiaonei to Renren. the demographic has changed from only having students being members to the working class signing up.
This social networking site is aware of itself and what needs to be done to grow. We will have to wait and see if and when Facebook goes to China how it will compete with Renren. But for now it is one of the leading social networks in China.
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- Top 5 Social Networks Outside the Big 3 (Part 2 of 5)
- Top 5 Social Networks Outside the Big 3 (Part 3 of 5)
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