THURSDAY 5 MAY 2011 2:02 PM

RENREN LEADS THE WAY IN THE NEXT STEP FOR SOCIAL NETWORKING

A Chinese social networking site has made a splash on the New York Stock Exchange in its first day of trading after setting share prices at 50% higher than had initially been expected, and posting around 35% up on its opening level by close of play.

Renren is a loss-making social network often cited as China’s answer to Facebook. The company has raised about $743.4 million from its IPO, and vows to report a profit soon.

Renren has about five million monthly users at the moment, and Joseph Chen, the company’s chief executive, says the company plans to use the raised funds to continue to expand its dominance in the open platform market in China, as well as to develop mobile user net penetration.

As one of the first social networking sites to float on the NYSE, investor demand for shares has proved strong. Yesterday, LinkedIn noted its intention to list on the NYSE this year, having moved into profit last year and with an implied valuation from private shares of $2.5 billion. Facebook, valuations of which have reached up to $70 billion, is also widely expected to make its IPO in the next 18 months.

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