MSN Ties With RenRen In China – Whither Facebook?

MSN China and RenRen, the Facebook-like Chinese social network, have signed a wide-ranging strategic cooperation pact that will enhance the Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) portal’s profile in the Far East but leaves Facebook’s position uncertain.

The cooperation will include unified account log-in, content synchronisation, finding and communicating with friends and more.

The deal is interesting because Facebook has been banned in China since 2009. Recent rumour it had signed a deal with Baidu (NSDQ: BIDU) to launch there appear to have been unfounded.

Microsoft, of course, owns a stake in Facebook itself. So MSN’s choice of RenRen as a partner may suggest Facebook is unlikely to make any RenRen-like impact in China anytime soon.

Says MSN China general manager Jiarong Chen (via release): “MSN has always been very selective in choosing our partners in China … Today’s partnership with Renren is another strategic decision we made to keep that promise to our users, as we benefit from each other’s competitive strengths and complementary user bases.”

RenRen raised $743.4 million by going public on the Nasdaq in May.