Alibaba Invests $215 Million in Tango

by Harry Wang | Mar. 20, 2014

Another day, another major investment in a messaging app brand. Alibaba announced that it led a group of investors in a $280 million funding round in Tango, a mobile messaging app maker with about 200 million users globally. Alibaba alone contributed $215 million for a minority stake around 20-25%, which puts the valuation of Tango north of $1 billion.

This is the continuation of intense market interest in messaging solutions since mid-2013. Before Facebook snatched WhatsApp, Genband bought Fring in September 2013 to beef up its WebRTC solution, and Japanese e-commerce company Rakutan bought Viber in February. I had the chance to visit Genband’s booth at MWC and got a detailed demo on the integrated solution of Fring and Genband. All signs point to a big battle in mobile communications and carriers’ ability to defend their core capability—voice and text—will be tested.

Parks Associates will release a report in the coming quarter on messaging apps and their implications for mobile operators and consumers. The title “The Post-SMS War for Mobile Communications: Messaging Apps” sums it all. We also have a consumer survey currently in the field examining consumers’ messaging app behaviors. Contact us if you are interested in those topics.

Tags: apps, mobile

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