Thursday, May 5, 2011

Silicon Dragon: Renren IPO Puts Joe Chen In Driver's Seat

As shares of Joe Chen’s Renren began trading up on the New York Stock Exchange today, I couldn’t help but recall our interviews in Beijing a few years ago. Back then, he candidly shared his view of what it takes to win the Chinese Internet race.

“We gotta big faster than rivals, and we’re fairly fast in areas that really matter. We are land grabbing everywhere,” he told me. I also remembered him telling me about his supercharged approach to building websites: “In China, we just chunk it out. We just do it.”

As I went down memory lane, I could hear Joe telling me what he’d learned from reading investment books about such business legends as Bill Gates, Larry Ellison and Rupert Murdoch. He said then he was applying what he had learned from these masters to “buy companies of intrinsic value with a barrier to entry and then nurture them.” And, the biggest lesson he took away? “I want to make sure to have an ample supply of cash to do deals.”

Today, such strategies were rewarded as his Facebook-like Chinese startup Renren scored on Wall Street. Shares rose 28.6% above the $14 IPO price in the first day of trading. Now, having raised $743.4 million in the IPO, Chen certainly has the capital and resources to ride the China Internet wave as CEO of his newly publicly traded company.

In the lightning-fast China web scene, Renren has morphed into a social network powerhouse.
To read more at Forbes, click