Facebook and Renren in China

Late last year Mark Zuckerberg, founder and owner of Facebook, paid a visit to several companies in China. In particularly Zuckerberg visited Sina and met with CEO Charles Chao, had discussion with Alibaba and Taobao. He also had lunch with Baidu’s CEO Robin Li, of whom Zuckerberg have known for a long time.

The one China social giant that Zuckerberg did not meet was the team at the Beijing based Renren (人人网). As of this writing Renren is the largest social network in China with over 100 million users. Could this omission be because Renren copies Facebook too much?

You can see a comparison of their login pages below:

Renren.com Login Screen

Facebook.com Login Screen

This similarity is not surprising given mainland Chinese counterfeiting and blatant imitation culture. There is even a Chinese phrase for this imitation culture, 山寨 (pinyin: shānzhài). It use to be focused mainly on clothing and handbags, but now everything you can think of and many items you can’t imagine have Shanzai versions. The web site Shanzai.com highlights them all.

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