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RenRen, China's social-networking site, soars in IPO, L.A.'s Boingo Wireless tumbles [Updated]

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Call it the tale of two IPOs.

RenRen Inc., China's largest social-networking site by page views, surged in trading during its stock market debut Wednesday while shares of Los Angeles-based Boingo Wireless, which went public Tuesday night, tumbled.

RenRen, which also offers daily deals and games to users, is the first social-networking site to go public in the U.S. and raised $743.4 million during its IPO with shares priced at $14 each. On Wednesday, shares soared as high as 71% to $24.

Meanwhile, Boingo Wireless, which allows people to access Internet on-the-go through a network of Wi-Fi hotspots at airports, hotels and malls, fell during its first day of trading after its IPO of $13.50.

[Updated at 3 p.m.:  Renren shares closed at $18.01, up $4.01, or 28.6% for the day. Boingo shares ended the day down $1.40, or 10.4%, to $12.10.

RenRen has about 117 million users in China, according to the company. China's booming Internet sector offers huge growth potential for social-networking sites and investors alike. In a country of 1.3 billion,  many people are coming online and tinkering with Twitter and Facebook-esque sites for the first time.

At least three Chinese Internet companies announced plans to go public in the previous month, including Youku.com, the popular Beijing-based online video site similar to YouTube.

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are all currently blocked in China because the websites don't adhere to Chinese Communist Party rules for censoring content.

Boingo has about 1.3 million users who purchase monthly subscription to access Wi-Fi locations around the country. However, the company faces competition from the growth of free Wi-Fi offerings in public places such as Starbucks.]

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-- Shan Li

Photo: China's RenRen Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Chen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday. Credit: Ho / Reuters

 
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