Alibaba has announced (opens in new tab) some new features for DingTalk, an enterprise-focused alternative to Microsoft Teams that has over 500 million users.
DingTalk is part of Alibaba Cloud, one of the world's leading cloud providers by market share, and the service combines messaging, task management, audio and video conferencing, live-streaming, real-time translation and more.
According to The Register (opens in new tab), the service is currently available to Chinese SMBs for no cost, and an English language version is also available Malaysia. But now, Alibaba is looking to attract a wider selection of customers, with new avenues for extensibility and additional subscription plans.
The company says the free basic version will remain available as before, alongside three paid tiers with extra features, and a new commission model will be added for software and hardware vendors.
The race for corporate messaging
Corporate messaging apps have taken off during the pandemic, as almost all businesses moved to an online model for working.
Zoom was the early winner, offering best-in-class video tools, but Microsoft was quick to expand and upgrade Teams, its all-in-one offering, and the company's pre-existing relationship with enterprises was a huge bonus.
On top of that, a host of other services, such as Slack, have catered to remote needs.
Given the Chinese internet is distinct from the Western internet, it makes sense that Alibaba – one of its largest companies, alongside Tencent – offers the same services for a domestic audience.
Alibaba says over 19 million organizations use DingTalk already, a formidable number, and one-third of customers have over 2,000 employees. Around 1.9 million developers offer over 2.4 million add-on features.
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