Renren

Renren logo

Renren is a Chinese social networking service similar to Facebook. It is popular among college students. In Feb 2011, Renren made a pre-IPO announcement that it had 160M registered users. Later, in Apr 2011, it had to update its statement accurately to "a total of 31M active monthly users."

Quick Facts

Summary

  • Ranked N/A
  • Active users 300 M
  • Type Social Networks
  • Launched date Dec 2005
  • Employees 324
  • Headquarters Beijing, China
  • Parent company Oak Pacific Interactive (2006 - present)

Founders

person
Wang Xing Longyan
person
Wang Huiwen
person
Lai Binqiang

Networks

  • Brand value In 2020 N/A
  • Revenue in 2020 $18 M
  • Net loss In 2020 N/A

Privacy Leak

Privacy LeakPrivacy leak Apr 2011. (via imgur.com)

In Apr 2008, SoftBank bought a 14% share of Xiaonei, becoming its largest shareholder. As a result, a rumor came out that “the personal data of millions of Chinese college students on Xiaonei will be exposed to the Japanese since the Japanese company became the boss of Xiaonei".

Soon, such a claim was spread all over various popular forums, QQ groups, and social networking sites like Xiaonei. Later, Xiaonei declared the denouncement towards its rivals for slander and denied what had been described in the rumor.

On Apr 29, 2011, a number of Renren users received a personal message saying that there's someone loving you, along with a piece of malicious code, providing the user's ID, name, school, birth date, cell phone number, MSN, etc. to a third-party website.

On the next day, such news was reported by major IT news websites in China but those articles were removed. Only a series of screenshots, a short statement, and a piece of attacking code survived.

Original Idea

original ideaoriginal idea

Renren, which started as Xiaonei.com, was founded by a group of students, including Wang Xing, Wang Huiwen, and Lai Binqiang at Tsinghua University and Tianjin University in Dec 2005.

Joseph Chen, who had himself tried to launch a student community website called ChinaRen as early as 1999 and sold it in 2000, acquired Xiaonei through his new company Oak Pacific in Oct 2006.

In Mar 2008, Xiaonei launched its WAP version, which users can access through mobile phones.

In Aug 2009, Xiaonei officially changed its name to Renren, as well as its domain to “www.renren.com”.

Brief History

1999
May Founded HomeToGo.
2000

ChinaRen.com was acquired by Sohu.

2005
Dec Renren, which started as Xiaonei.com, was founded by Wang Xing, Wang Huiwen, and Lai Binqiang at Tsinghua University and Tianjin University.
2006
Oct Joseph Chen acquired Xiaonei.
2007
July Xiaonei officially facilitated its open platform.
2008
Mar Launched its WAP version, which users can access through mobile phones.
2009
Aug Xiaonei officially changed its name to Renren.
2010
Sep Oak Pacific announced it would integrate Renren with Kaixin.
2011
Feb 160M registered users.
Apr Renren lists on the New York Stock Exchange.

A number of Renren users received a personal message saying that there's someone loving you.

Network Features

Profile

ProfileProfile on Renren. (via renren.com)

In the additional section of personal profiles, users can also put on information about their contact information, hobbies, favorite music, movies, the clubs they joined, etc. To personalize the profile, Renren has also developed functions to edit profile music and background.

Friends

FriendsFriends on Renren. (via renren.com)

Registered users can add friends to the friend list. By specifying educational information in the profile, a user can easily find other users. Users can be also affiliated with groups (usually an existing class, school, or organization).

Renrenzhuomian App

Renrenzhuomian AppRenrenzhuomian app. (via renren.com)

Renrenzhuomian is a kind of instant message service provided to renren net users. It allows users viewing news and messages online, generating new short blogs, replying to others, and forwarding news by simply opening this software and logging into the account.

Log in with an invisible status

One can click to choose their online status and if they choose the "invisible status", others cannot see. This function is useful when someone wants to peek at some news but wants to remain anonymous.

Online chatting

Multi-users chatting is available in Renrenzhuomian. One can talk to several people at the same time and all people will be added to a chatting group automatically.

GIF emoticon is available in Renrenzhuomian, which is not supported technically on the websites. GIF emoticons can present more vivid expressions and young users like this function.

Batch picture downloading

Renrenzhuomian enables users to download all the pictures in an album with a single click. Batch downloading function is not available on renren websites however it is available on mobile apps and it is quite effective when you need it.

Widget notification

Users get notifications when someone replies or when fresh news is posted by friends. Renrenzhuomian provides faster and more effective notification.

Applications

ApplicationsApplications on Renren. (via renren.com)

There are some common kinds of expressions on Renren, such as renewing the mood (updating personal state), blogging, voting, and sharing others’ blogs.

Users upload photos and share photos, articles, and external links (usually videos). Leaving a message or commenting on photos, blogs, status, etc.

Activities can be held online by calling on friends to participate. There are also several peripheral applications, such as online mini-games, regular games, doggies, testing, parking lot, and selling and buying of friends.

Points and levels

Renren users earn "points" for various activities, such as logging in regularly, posting updates, and receiving comments and replies from contacts. As users earn points, their "level" on the website increases, and at certain levels, users gain extra privileges such as access to additional emoticons, skins for their profile, and the ability to view other users' profiles without their knowledge.

Alternatively, users can gain access to all privileges by paying a monthly fee to become a VIP user.

Renrendou

The Renrendou, or Renren beans, is the virtual currency on Renren. Due to some functions charging users fees, Renrendou can be used to purchase gifts, commence the Purple Bean service, exchange for game coins, and advertise. 1 RMB is equivalent to 1 Renrendou.

Academic studies

Renren has collaborated with academic researchers to understand the growth and structure of its user community.

The study also used Renren's unique feature, a per-user "recent visitors" log, to create an anonymous history of users and how they browse each other's profiles, which was the first of its kind.

A second study detailed the process of analyzing and improving detection of fake users (also called Sybil accounts) on Renren.

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