Ren Rong was born in 1960 in Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu Province, and attended high school there from 1974 to 1979, where he also received artistic training. From 1982 to 1986 he studied at the local art academy, specializing in oil painting, ink painting and printmaking in the subject area of Socialist Realism. He participated in the first joint exhibition with other young artists of the province in 1985, the first solo exhibition followed in 1986.
In connection with his marriage to a German, Ren Rong moved to Bonn, the then capital of the Federal Republic of Germany, in 1986. His first solo exhibition in Germany followed in the same year. From 1987 to 1992 Ren Rong held a teaching position at the Seminar for Oriental Languages at the University of Bonn. He taught Chinese ink painting and calligraphy there.