Business / Gadgets

Alibaba investing in US messaging startup Tango

By Meng Jing (China Daily) Updated: 2014-03-21 10:51

There is no product that is as strong as WeChat, which has 600 million registered users in China, so Alibaba has to look for candidates in markets outside China, he added.

"There is the possibility that Alibaba will introduce Tango to the Chinese market or bring in the company's technology or patent into China," Zhuo said.

Jane Zhang, principal research analyst with Gartner Inc, a US information technology research and advisory firm,

Alibaba investing in US messaging startup Tango

Alibaba investing in US messaging startup Tango

echoed the view, saying Tango is not only a messaging app but also a content platform with video, social and gaming, which could bring business expertise to the operation of Laiwang, Alibaba's own mobile messaging app.

Despite some cash-burning promotions, Laiwang, which was launched last year by Alibaba as a weapon to compete with Tencent's WeChat, has so far failed to turn many heads. The app, which has more than 10 million users, lags far behind WeChat.

Apart from its unfulfilled ambitions regarding mobile chatting, the investment in Tango could potentially help with the expansion of Alibaba's overseas online commerce business.

Annie Xu, US general manager for Alibaba, told the Financial Times the group was exploring how it could expand its cross-border work.

While Alibaba's core business remains in China for the foreseeable future, she said, it is also looking at ways it can use its access to Chinese customers and wholesalers to facilitate more commerce.

No concrete plans have been revealed, but the senior executives of Tango confirmed that as part of this financing, Michael Zeisser, who heads Alibaba's investment team in the US to expand the company's global footprint, will join Tango's board of directors.


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