Tech Edge

Renren CEO unfazed by 80% stock drop

RenRen: Slowly making transition to mobile

Joseph Chen, CEO of Renren, the operator of a Facebook-like social networking site in China, says he is not influenced by the performance of the company's share price, which has plunged nearly 80 percent over the past three years.

"Building a company for long-term success, you're going to have your own ups and downs. We try consciously to let ourselves not be influenced by the stock price. We try to stay optimistic when the stock is high or low," Chen told CNBC on Thursday.

Renren, which created a lot of hype during its initial public offering (IPO) in New York in May 2011, has fast fallen out of favor with investors.

Joseph Chen, chief executive officer of Renren Inc
Adam Dean | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The company has come under pressure amid rising competition in China's social-networking space. It's also struggling to adapt to the rise of smartphones and mobile internet users.

Renren's net revenue declined 29 percent on year to $30.7 million in the final quarter of 2013, and it has warned investors to expect further declines in the current quarter.

While users spend 80 percent of their time on Renren via mobile devices, mobile makes up less than 10 percent of the company's online advertising revenues.

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During the fourth quarter, its online ad revenue tumbled 18 percent on year amid increased competition and continued migration of user traffic to mobile devices from desktop computers.

Chen said companies in the mainland are taking a lot longer to adapt their advertising strategies to the mobile platform.

He added that the companies need to figure out a way to monetize beyond advertising.

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"I think internet advertising will be less compared with the PC years; I think people need to focus more on [mobile] payments," he said.

China's online and mobile payment transactions have been growing at a rapid pace. Management consultancy McKinsey forecasts China will overtake the United States as the world's largest online retail economy this year.

China's mobile payment market rose by over 700 percent to 1.22 trillion yuan ($199 billion) in transactions last year, according to Reuters.

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