• Andrew Collins

Stop calling RenRen the Chinese Facebook

Updated: Jun 19, 2019

RenRen: often defined as the Chinese largest Facebook-ish social network

Total registered users: 162 million

Total active users: 45 million (27%)

Compared with other main Chinese social networks:


Don’t call it the Chinese Facebook

Did you know RenRen existed as a college-focused social network while Zuckerberg was still in high-school? Well, it did. It was just called Chinaren at the time.

The social network as we know it today was born in 2009, with the consolidation of Xiaonei and Kaixin, respectively translated into ‘inside the school’ and ‘happy’. RenRen, which literally means ‘everyone’, was born.

The company went public in 2011, and has been competing in China’s overcrowded social network battle for now over a decade.

Struggling, as you may know.

RenRen might look very similar to Facebook and presenting elements such as Timeline, rolled out just in November 2012.


However, RenRen’s positioning is very different.

The Gaming Company

After attempting almost every viable Internet business model, claiming to be the next Groupon, Linkedin, YouTube and countless others, RenRen finally found it’s calling in the gaming industry.

Indeed, in 2012 Q2 results suggested half of the company’s total revenue was generated by gaming alone.


Defined by local bloggers as the gaming company, RenRen started to become extremely popular for it’s browser-based games, and most importantly for it’s mobile games.

In fact, Chinese users – the World’s biggest smartphone buyers – logged into RenRen more from their mobiles than from their desktops.

“In 2013 80% of RenRen users will only log in from mobile devices.”

Independent Mobile Division

With this kind of results, is not surprising CEO Joseph Chen decided to dedicate 45% of its workforce to the mobile business, and recently established an independent wireless division in the organizational structure of the company.

The new company section will focus on new products development and mobile products.

What does all this mean for you?

Don’t think of RenRen as the Chinese Facebook. Nor think of it like just a smaller version of Sina Weibo.

If you’re planning a brand strategy on RenRen, don’t simply post the same content you would share on any other social network and expect user engagement.

Create an app plugin, a mobile game, a campaign involving gaming. Be creative.

And, just remember the RenRen keywords for 2013:

1. Mobile

2. Gaming

3. Students


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For any other doubts on RenRen, just shoot us an email here.

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