Renren, a Facebook style networking site, prepares US flotation

Renren, a Chinese Facebook imitator, is planning to raise $500m by initiating a US stock market floatation.

Such a move would make RenRen the first social media site to go public, giving it a headstart on its Western rival.

This follows a spate of Chinese floatations in recent years, notably Baidu (a Google alike), Youku (an online TV company) and Dangdang, (an e-commerce site).

Closer to home there is continued speculation that LinkedIn, Groupon and Facebook will mount public flotations of their own.

It is estimated that renren, with 22m users, is the largest site of its kind in China.

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