Microsoft is integrating its MSN platform with China's social networking site Renren in a move that could help it reach more of the country's Internet users.
By a partnership announced Wednesday, Microsoft's joint venture MSN China and Renren will share services and applications. Users with MSN accounts can now use the same account to access Renren. Status updates and photos uploaded to a Renren account will automatically appear on the user's MSN Messenger account. MSN and Renren users will also be able to communicate across platforms.
Renren is a Facebook-like site with 124 million active users. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
The new partnership could help Microsoft expand its users base for MSN Messenger, which has 14 million registered users in the country, according to research firm Analysys International.
But the number pales in comparison with that for the instant messaging service provided by Chinese Internet firm Tencent. The service, called QQ, has more than 600 million users in the country.
Microsoft's joint venture in China entered into a similar partnership last November with Chinese Internet portal operator Sina. The agreement also included unified account login and content synchronisation across Windows Live Messenger and Sina's Twitter-like service and blogging platform.