Renren, the Faded Facebook of China, Disposed at $60 million

Four years after my last post on in 2014, the Facebook of China, I logged in to check back on my friends but got nothing but disappointment in return. Among stereotypical selfies of online celebrities are the ashes of my burned-out college memories.

The ashes will be gone, as Renren Inc., the parent company of the social network platform, announced on Nov.15 that it agreed to sell the formerly popular service at $60 million in cash and stock to Beijing Infinities Interactive Media Co., Ltd.

“Now when Renren has been sold, it seems like a good opportunity to take a look at the past. But the moment I log in, I just wanna close the page, as I can not bear the flood of memories coming back to me,” my friend posted upon hearing the news, “I now know that I am all good. And it’s time to say goodbye.”

As users are saying goodbye to their youth, the company also expressed farewell to the Renren SNS business. It will now focus on the used car business in China, the Trucker Path business and the SaaS business in the United States.

renren Joseph Chen
Joseph Chen, Renren’s Chairman and CEO (photo credit to 腾讯深网)

“I am happy to find a home for,” said Joseph Chen, Renren’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, “Looking ahead, our company will be serving global, vertical industries with internet and artificial intelligence.”

When Renren Inc.’s net revenue reached $21 million in the first season of 2011 with 122 million active users by May of that year, no one could have imagined that the SNS business would be disposed at such a low price. The company went public in 2011, one year prior Facebook held its initial public offering, with an estimated financing amount of $740 million. It shared the social media market with another giant QQ of Tencent, which later launched the nowadays ubiquitous WeChat .

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Four years after, Renren announced that they would remove the messaging system, a Facebook’s Messenger like feature. They also cut down on their staff, from over 2000 to around 80, as Chen stated in a post in August 2018 in response to an article cherishing the 13th anniversary of Renren and its stepping down from the throne.

By that time, its first generation of users had abandoned the platform as they had graduated from college. And WeChat became their new favorite.

“It’s not because of the battle among social media services. We lose to the growing trend, or some external factors” Chen told Tencent Deep Web, “We couldn’t have done a better job.”

Featured photo credit to视觉中国