Social networking sites boom in Asia
May 16, 2012

As facebook increased the price range on its initial public offering by an average of 14 percent to raise more than US$12 billion, giving the world’s No. 1 social network a valuation potentially exceeding US$100 billion the move is making ripple affects across the industry. Shares of ren ren, facebook’s alias in China,  surged the most in a month – up 60 cents at US$6.09 on Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange. While ren ren’s above average quarterly results were also the reason behind China’s social networking companys raising shares, analysts confer that facebook’s massive demand also fueled the rise.

Social networking companies have been the catalysts for phenomenal social changes in the past few years as millions of users across China and India have used the platform to harness social movements and press governments into reform. Helping to take news, information, personal stories and local atrocities national, social media networks are drastically changing the way people communicate, how governments endorse policies, and how quickly social change is sweeping across our countries. Grappling with social economic factors is challenging enough for our people in a rapidly globalizing world, often social media networking sites, help us localize issues, bring to the fore matters we didn’t otherwise know existed and help common citizens digest news and information in a more personalized way.

So dramatic has been the effect of social media across India and China, that facebok is certain their one-billionth user will be an Asian. More than a fourth of Facebook’s estimated 900 million-plus users are in Asia. India’s community is currently 45 million and the nations new users grew 20 percent over the past six months. While facebook is banned in China, ren ren its equivalent is doing exceptionally well sans Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard dorm-room creation. Recently released numbers show Renren’s revenue rose 56 percent in the first quarter to US$32.1 million. Revenue from gaming rose 91 percent in the past quarter to US$17.5 million, as the company’s recently launched games and mobile gaming gained popularity.

In the biggest-ever IPO to emerge from Silicon Valley, Facebook will raise US$12.1 billion based on the midpoint price of US$36 and the 337.4 million shares on offer, or 12.3 percent of the company.

At this midpoint, Facebook would be valued at roughly 27 times its 2011 annual revenue, or 99 times earnings. When Google went public in 2004 at a valuation of US$23 billion, it was valued at 16 times trailing revenue and 218 times earnings. Apple Inc, meanwhile, went public in 1980 at a valuation of 25 times revenue and 102 times earnings.

Ren ren listed on the New york Stock exchange in May last year under the ticker symbol RENN, becoming the first social networking website and largest Chinese technology group in 2011, to list on the exchange. Shares of Renren surged 29 percent to close at US$18.01 on its first day of trading.

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