There’s always copycats. But did you know there’s a Facebook clone in china? I did some research into another major social media player in China, RenRen.

According to their Wikipedia entrey, The Renren Network (Chinese: 人人网; literally “everyone network”), formerly known as Xiaonei Network (Chinese: 校内网; literally “on-campus network”) is a Chinese social networking site that is a copy of Facebook . It has been called the Facebook of China. It is popular among college students in China.

With over 5 million monthly active users this site is growing at an astounding rate. It is currently where Facebook was back in its own humble beginnings, appealing mostly to highschool and college students, and fresh graduates, but still less appealing to the masses.

One of the more interesting commentaries on the state of this Chinese Facebook Clone was done by Techcrunch’s Jeremy Goldkorn who said that while it’s probably the closest thing China has to Facebook

It’s not Facebook – Looking just at U.S. numbers, more than half of America’s 230 plus million Internet users are on Facebook. China has more than 400 million Internet users, but Renren only has only 20 to 30 million active monthly users and perhaps around 100 million registered users in total. That’s a long way behind Facebook. There is no ubiquitous Facebook “Like” button on the Chinese Internet, and I have never heard of a young Renren user being horrified because their mom just signed up for the service. Renren has simply not grown to occupy the place in Chinese life that Facebook has assumed in the U.S. and elsewhere.”

But, something doesn’t have to be as big as Facebook to be wildly successful, and I think that RenRen could be the first of many native langauge networks that beging to encroach upon Facebook, Twitter’ and even Linkedin’s territory. One thing is clear: there are a lot of options for social network users in China, and not the ones you and me have necessarily have heard of.

What Do You Think?

Is there an opening for savvy developers in their native countries to create carbon copies of popular english based platforms and cash on in the social media craze. Since writing this post Google Plus has launched, so it’s worth adding – Do you think there is a chance for an english speaking service to join in and take market share from Facebook?