Pamela de Butler
Long/short equity

Renren Will Never Be China's Facebook

In the frenzy leading up to its May 2011 IPO, Renren, (NYSE:RENN), was touted as the next China Facebook (NASDAQ:FB). It promised to be the leading Social Networking Site (SNS) in China. With aggressive, influential backers including China's Alibaba and Japan's Softbank, its ability to tap and profit from China's reported 420 million internet users at the end of 2010, seemed indisputable. And once those users were accessed, there were more to grab since they represented only about a third of China's 1.3 billion inhabitants.

Finally, mobile usage was in its infancy and expected to replicate the rapid US and European growth. The Chinese internet was a true growth opportunity with U.S. internet access already reaching...

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