Five Friday Facts #40


Renren’s revenue up by 48% but Q2 records a net loss
Chinese social networking site Renren reported a net revenue of S$55.8 million in the second quarter of 2012. This is a 48% increase compared to the same period last year, with social gaming bringing in bulk of the revenue – contributing a whopping S$28 million. Revenues from social gaming going up by 122.1% meant that the company was earning more from online gaming than it did from advertising. However, the site also reported a huge net loss of S$28 million for Q2. This is no different from the situation that Facebook is finding itself in this quarter. Renren however has unique challenges as microblogging competitors like Sina Weibo are already diversifying services to monetise in different ways. It is therefore looking into experimenting with mobile opportunities such as mobile advertising, mobile gaming and mobile commerce.

Sina’s vice chair: ‘We’re frightened by the shift to Mobile Internet’
China’s two massively successful microblogging services, Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo, have changed the way the nation’s Internet works. Today, the country is experiencing a reality of mobile phones replacing PCs at a drastic rate. Tech in Asia reported the conversation that Sina’s Vice Chair Wang Gaofei had with Sohu IT. Wang shared that for Sina Weibo, PC usage dropped by 13% while mobile usage increased by 14%. This meant that now 52% of Sina Weibo users are accessing the Twitter-esque site from their mobile, as compared to just 32% accessing it from their PCs. While the mobile takeover is a long predicted trend, Sina is nonetheless frightened by the shift. According to Wang, this spells monetisation problems for Sina:

How can we become the ‘entrance’ to the mobile internet — we’re all bewildered by that, and we’re anxious or perhaps even frightened by it. If we can’t become that ‘entrance’ then the value of our business and our market share will not change [i.e., improve] significantly.

This is especially interesting, as we mentioned earlier in this post that not only are Renren and Facebook facing similar issues, but Twitter and now Sina Weibo are also finding it difficult to monetise.

Olympic athletes get onto Sina Weibo
We have seen many foreign delegates, politicians and celebrities getting onto Sina Weibo to connect with their Chinese fans. With the Olympics fever gripping China along with the rest of the world, American athletes like Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps have also established their presence on Weibo. Lochte appears to be among the first waves of Olympic athletes reaching out to the Chinese population. The swimmer woed his fans sharing photos of his chiseled torso with the ‘Jeah’ hashtag. His Weibo account has 71,000 fans while his better-known teammate Michael Phelps has more than 480,000 fans. On the other hand, basketball being the more popular sport in China, reportedly has at least 60 NBA players with Weibo accounts and about 1.6 million fans each.

Pinterest finally ditches invitations
Pinterest has finally ditched invite-only registrations and is now open for sign ups. Back in February, the social bookmarking site had 10 million unique monthly visitors in the US alone. However, by April the number grew to 107 million visits making it the third most visited social media site after Facebook and Twitter. While many speculated staggering growth in May, Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten invested US$100 million, giving the then invite-only service a valuation of more than US$1 billion. The female-dominated site might now see growth from both genders – just like how many speculated that Facebook would alienate its core user base of college student but when it went public, it was quite the opposite with everyone jumping onto the site.

Curiosity lands on Mars, generates huge Facebook buzz
Forget the Olympics for a moment. There was a new buzz on social media this week as space enthusiasts all over the world tuned in to witness the historic landing of the NASA rover Curiosity on Mars. The first image from Curiosity came to Earth via Twitter and flooded Twitter users’ newsfeeds with the hype. Also, a Facebook spokesperson told Mashable that there was a significant increase in chatter this week and especially so from the male population Facebook statistics revealed that the Talk Meter showed a 6.08 rating on 10 for men talking about the landing while the rating was a 4.76 out of 10 for female Facebook users. Prior to the landing, Facebook users from the US and Canada cheered Curiosity’s journey to Mars more than any other nation with a score of 5.45 and 5.37 respectively. Costa Rica, New Zealand, Australia and Israel followed closely with a buzz score ranging between 4.5 and 5.3. European countries were clearly not part of the buzz as they were mostly asleep while Curiosity was on its way, Facebook noted.