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China's Renren launched Xiaozhan

|Includes: Renren Inc. (RENN), SINA

Chinese leading SNS provider Renren(NYSE: RENN) launched Xiaozhan(小站) today, aiming at popular social topics. There are 18 topics currently, ranging from traditional categories  like Music, Moive to internet buzz word Meng. By click on each button, users will be redirected to frontpage of each topic. On the right side tool bar, there is a ranking of Xiaozhan, which lists the most popular Xiaozhen under corresponding category.

The launch of Xiaozhan is Renren's answer to Weibo, a leading Twitter-like websites. Weibo's holding company Sina Corporation(Nasdaq: SINA) had pushed aggressively from Social Media to a multi-functional social platform. Weibo's users are engaged by fashion, political, economics topics, celebrities, and influential social events. Weibo now has more than 140 million users. And the net adds are growing at a faster pace than Renren does. According to my knowledge, a substantial amount of Renren users switch to Weibo after they graduate from college. Xiaozhan is expected to retain partial of those active users from switching to Weibo.
 
I've noticed that Renren had launched a similar feature named Xiaozu(小组), which allowing end-users with same interest to disscuss topics and exchange minds on each group's main page, much like those old-school BBS. So far Xiaozu has failed to increase time spent on sites of Renren users.

Renren's stock prices topped 10.5$ in today's trading and secured more than 7% gain with the closing bell. Since the day of IPO, Renren's stock price has stumpled more than 33%, partially due to investors overreactions toward SEC's investigation of US-listed Chinese firms.

Renren's 1Q11 filings presents a significant narrow of net loss, indicating the Chinese SNS gaint is gaining momentum. I expect Renren's stock price will rebound in the following months.

Disclosure: I am net long RENN