The U.S. has just witnessed the first IPO of a social media group — RenRen Inc. If ranked according to page views, then RenRen is the most important Chinese social network and today it made its grand debut on the New York Stock Exchange. Its underwriters were Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, and Morgan Stanley. The company is based in Beijing but it is not actually listed in China. RenRen’s initial price per share was $14; at closing, its price stood at $18. 01 though earlier in the day the number reached $24. The $18.01 figure comprises a nearly 30 percent increase (28.6%) in value.
RenRen’s market value is approximately $7.5 billion and its net revenues from last year tallied $76.5m. By comparison, Facebook’s market value is estimated to be $65 billion.
Of China’s 1.3 billion people, 117 million use RenRen. Initially conceived as a Facebook copy, RenRen now features games and daily deals. Almost no one in the country has access to Twitter, Facebook, or Youtube because of issues related to the Chinese government’s stance on censoring.
In addition to being the first social media IPO, RenRen’s NY debut represents the largest offering from the Chinese tech sector on the New York Stock Exchange.