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Chinese Facebook clone bags Windows 8 social app first

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Facebook copycat Renren has announced it will make the first social networking app for Microsoft's Windows 8 app store.

The Chinese site said that high-def app Renren HD will feature full integration with the new tablet-friendly platform, allowing citizens to share web pages, pictures, videos and other stuff via the social network in a single click.

"We are very proud to be selected as the first social networking service partner for Microsoft's new Windows store," said Joseph Chen, CEO of Renren, in a canned statement.

"Renren shares the vision of Windows 8 in its aspiration to revolutionise how content is delivered and shared between the next generation of digital devices. Renren HD was designed with the same philosophy."

To this end, the app has adopted a tiled user interface to fit in with Windows 8 Metro. Shares in the Chinese social network rose on the news of the app launch.

However, despite the “Facebook of China” moniker, Renren has failed to set its domestic market alight in the same way as rivals Sina Weibo and Tencent, which have more than double the number of Renren’s estimated 136m users.

And this is very early days for Microsoft - it only unleashed its Consumer Preview of Windows 8 on the world at last week's Mobile World Congress. Redmond will have to do a lot better than Renren if it wants the revamped touch-friendly Windows platform to grab punters' attention.

If it fails to get more big-name applications on board to demonstrate the strength of the Metro UI it will never convince the majority of Windows users who quite like their old-fashioned desktop experience, thank you very much. ®

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