China's RenRen Social Network Introduces Social Gaming

The popular Chinese social networking site RenRen, has seemingly shifted its marketing efforts to social gaming. China’s online social networks have gained tremendous popularity over the years, allowing users to connect with existing friends and meet new people alike. RenRen has the most active users out of all the Chinese social networks and will look to continue to engage its university crowd with more mass-appeal games from outside developers as well as in-house efforts.

RenRen’s shifting marketing focus could be a response to the recent debates of whether Chinese social networks are more for meeting new people or for playing games with existing friends. RenRen’s campaign last year was more focused on real people connecting using RenRen as opposed to this year where its campaign highlights animated animals, vegetables and furniture. Videos of the campaign can be seen here.

RenRen’s interface is similar to Facebook and is popular among students in China. Formerly known as Xianei, its APIs are similar to Facebooks with efforts underway to develop an SDK similar to Facebook as well. Chinese social networks definitely have a need to improve their social gaming efforts, as developers on their platforms are looking to migrate to industries such as the US for better pay offs. RenRen’s API is currently open to 3rd parties with revenue share capped at 56%.

Apart from RenRen, the 3 other top competitors include Kaixin001 for white collar workers, Qzone which attracts young teens and RenRen already has a great set of games due to its open platform but continues to focus on in-house gaming efforts. With a stronger focus on social games, we can expect to see more games focused for college kids like RPGs that are already very popular in Asia.