|Michael A. Katz |||Jan 16, 2015 03:53 PM EST|
(Photo : Reuters) Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba Group is currently testing a mobile messaging application called DingTalk that combines social networking with business.
Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba Group is currently testing a mobile messaging application called DingTalk that combines social networking with business.
The new app is currently in beta testing and is capable of carrying conference calls and group messaging, reports Reuters. DingTalk is designed for small- and medium-sized companies, many of which are already Alibaba customers. It is intended to work like WeChat, but for business, allowing employees to search for coworkers and engaged in group or one-on-one chats.
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"DingTalk is a versatile mobile communications app that fills a gap in the market for corporate mobile messaging," the Alibaba spokeswoman said.
Alibaba will have to play catchup to rival Tencent Holdings, operator of WeChat, which has 468 million active monthly users. By targeting smaller operations, DingTalk is going after an audience that already includes many Alibaba clients, reports Reuters. The company has 8.5 million active sellers on its e-commerce platforms, according to Alibaba's initial public offering prospectus.
Alibaba is utilizing its cloud computing business, which serves merchants as well as other companies. Since 2009, Aliyun, Alibaba's cloud division, garnered more than 1.4 million customers, according to Alibaba's IPO prospectus.
Alibaba declined comment on when DingTalk will be fully launched or how it will make money for the company.
This isn't Alibaba's first foray into the mobile messaging game. It previously launched Laiwang, a mobile messaging app widely regarded as an industry failure. The company struggled so much to attract customers that in April Alibaba founder
and Chairman Jack Ma reportedly told employees that they would not get their annual bonus if they didn't find 100 new users outside the company over the next six or seven months.
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