BEIJING, May 6 (Xinhuanet) --Renren, China's Facebook, has listed on the New York Stock Exchange, in one of the hottest debuts of the year so far. As the first listed social networking site in the U.S., analysts say it possibly sets the stage for Facebook, if Facebook ever goes public. Renren shares surged nearly 30 percent after raising 743 million in its IPO.
Shares of Renren rose as high as around 22 U.S. dollars, or almost 56.6 percent above its 14 U.S. dollar IPO price in its first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange before closing at around 18 U.S. dollars, or 28.6 percent,above the IPO price.
Earlier on Wednesday, Renren raised more than 743 million U.S. dollars in its IPO.
Joseph Chen, CEO of Renren said "We have made well-founded preparations for the listing. I believe the cooperation between our investment banks, legal teams with us are very important. China's rapid growth, especially the expansion of the country's Internet industry, will provide more good opportunities for companies like ours."
Renren's offering comes amid a grab for hot social media companies, including Twitter, Facebook, Groupon and Zynga, which are propped up by multi-billion-dollar valuations of their shares trading on the secondary markets.
Joseph Chen also says, strong demand for the company -- which is not profitable yet, but is set to profit "very soon," is the latest sign investors are eager to snap up stock in social media companies.
Joseph Chen said "Starting from about the past three quarters our advertising business has been growing very nicely as the advertisers, brand advertisers such as Coca-Cola and Nike, recognize the power of using social networks to connect to their audiences. And their businesses are catching up on really rapidly, so we are seeing very hyper growth."
Renren recorded net revenue of 76.5 million U.S. dollars in 2010 and about 117 million activated users as of March 31st, 2011.
Beijing-based Renren sold 53.1 million American Depositary Shares on Wednesday. It had planned to go public for 12 to 14 dollars per share, after raising its estimated price range by 30 percent last week from 9 to 11 U.S. dollars.
Experts say Renren's spectacular IPO could be the curtain raiser for what is to come, if the world's No. 1 social networking site, Facebook, goes public next year.