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Alibaba invests $215 million in mobile messaging firm Tango

Alibaba sees potential in messaging market

Alibaba has invested $215 million (£130 million, AU$240 million) in mobile messaging firm Tango in the latest move to cash in on the popular smartphone chat industry.

The money will secure the Chinese e-commerce company a seat on Tango's Board of Directors and will give it a minority stake.

Joe Tsai, executive vice chairman at Alibaba, said the firm was "blown away" by Tango and its team.

IT World cited a source which said Alibaba's investment was because of its "engineering expertise" in the mobile messaging market.

The move follows Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp last month for $19 billion (£11.5 billion, AU$21 billion). Similar deals for other messaging apps like Viber have also been recently announced.

Tango is already shaping up to a big contender, with 70 million active users per month. It is expected that Alibaba will try to apply its understanding of Tango's success to its own messaging app called Laiwang.

Alibaba has been on a spending spree in recent months, investing in ShopRunner and Quixey, among others. With so many eyes on the mobile messaging sector, Tango might just be a smart investment.