Renren, China’s Answer to Facebook, Plans US Float

Renren, the Chinese equivalent of Facebook, is planning to go public, the first social networking site to do so:. From the Guardian: has hired the investment banks Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank to advise it on the initial public offer (IPO), which could raise $500m (£310m), according to the Financial Times.

Estimated to have 22m active users, renren – which means “everyone” – is the largest site of its kind in China. It was founded in 2005 by three Chinese graduates of the University of Delaware under the name of Xiaonei, or “inside school”, and is now the most popular social network among Chinese students.

The IPO would follow successful recent debuts by other Chinese tech stars. The online TV company listed on the New York Stock Exchange in December. Its shares closed up 161% on the first day of trading and have performed well since. Shares in the e-commerce site Dangdang jumped 87% on the first day and have continued to increase in value. Baidu, China’s answer to Google, has been listed on the NYSE since 2005 and its shares have risen 4,660% to date.

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