Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is backing mobile messaging app-maker Tango with big money.
It has invested the equivalent of 156 million euros in Tango.
It was part of 203 million euro new funding round. The rest came from Tango’s prior investors, who include privately held industrial group Access Industries, venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Jerry Yang, a co-founder of Yahoo.
The Tango app – which includes games, multimedia sharing and other content – has 200 million registered users and 70 million active users – particularly in North America, the Middle East, Taiwan and Singapore.
Alibaba’s own version of a messaging service has struggled to gain traction as it tries to compete with massively popular Chinese rival WeChat, which has morphed into an e-commerce platform.
Tango is the latest in a string of investments for Alibaba, which is preparing for an highly anticipated initial public offering of shares in New York that could value the company at $200 billion (145 billion euros).
Chasing mobile app opportunities
The Tango deal comes one month after Facebook’s massive $19 billion (13.8 billion euros) acquisition of Whatsapp.
The activity in this area underscores the lengths that internet companies are willing to go to gain a foothold in mobile communications.
Tango co-founder Eric Setton has said he believed his company’s wider offerings mean it will eventually beat Whatsapp, which offers purely text and voice communications.
“The platform approach I believe is the winning strategy,” Setton said. “We’ve now seen it in a number of key markets, with Kakao in Korea or Line in Japan.”
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