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Alibaba steps into the Kakao, LINE, WeChat, Viber, WhatsApp battle with Tango investment

Take a +20% stake thanks to $215M injection
Alibaba steps into the Kakao, LINE, WeChat, Viber, WhatsApp battle with Tango investment
Date Type Companies Involved Size
Mar 20, 2014 investment Alibaba Tango $215m
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Following Facebook's WhatsApp acquisition and Rakuten's purchase of Viber, Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba is ensuring it won't be left behind.

Its just invested $215 million as part of a $280 million funding round into US mobile messaging network Tango.

The deal values Tango at $1.1 billion, with Alibaba's stake said to be between 20 to 25 percent.

The big play

The mobile messaging market is increasing competitive, particularly in southeast Asia where the like of Kakao, LINE and WeChat are fighting for users.

Although it should be pointed out that Tango doesn't have any users in China itself. That market is pretty much sown up with Tencent's WeChat and QQ. 

As well as enabling free calls and messaging over wifi, these services are eating into other aspects of the mobile industry, particularly gaming, ecommerce and payment.

Tango has around 70 million active monthly users and is expanding its activity with respect to mobile games. It recently signed a deal to integrate with PlayPhone's gaming network.

PlayPhone's white label service is used by 83 percent of US mobile subscribers including Verizon, AT&T and Sprint. It's has reach in Asia and Latin America thanks to deals with SingTel and Claro.

[source: Reuters]