Alibaba Enters Messaging Market With $215 Million Investment in Tango

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Why let Facebook have all the fun?

Chinese online retail giant Alibaba has jumped into the messaging market with a $ 215 million investment in Tango, a four-year-old messaging and social-networking app.

Part of a total fundraising round of $ 280 million, the investment provides Tango with capital to compete in the increasingly high-stakes competition between messaging apps that has blossomed outside the U.S.

Tango offers users the ability to text, make voice and video calls, play games and stream music from Spotify — all free of charge. The app operates over 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi networks, and currently boasts more than 200 million users. Read more…

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South Korea’s Top Messaging App Expects $200 Million in Revenue This Year

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In South Korea, there’s no escaping KakaoTalk. The country has a smartphone penetration rate of 73%, according to research firm EMarketer, and of those people, 93% use the mobile messaging app Kakao, Nielsen said.

Kakao expects its app will generate about $ 200 million in revenue this year, according to the company’s forecasts. That’s compared with $ 42 million last year, with a profit of $ 6.5 million.

But with little room left to grow in its home country, Kakao is looking elsewhere. That’s harder than it seems. Nearby Asian countries have already picked their favorite messaging appsLine is wildly popular in Japan, and Tencent’s WeChat dominates China with more than 230 million users. Read more…

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