Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba has invested $215m in mobile messaging app Tango, as completion in the chat app sector heats up following Facebook’s $19bn purchase of WhatsApp.
The deal underscored the lengths that Internet companies are willing to go to gain a foothold in mobile communications, and comes as Tango surpassed its 200 million user mark.
Tango received $215m from Alibaba with the additional $65m from some of its prior investors.
Tango’s prior investors include Access Industries, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Qualcomm Ventures, Toms Capital, Translink Capital, as well as Bill Tai, Shimon Weintraub, Jerry Yang, Alex Zubillaga and others.
The Alibaba investment secured the Chinese company a minority stake in Tango and a seat on the start-up’s board. Tango wouldn’t disclose a valuation of the company based on the latest investment.
The company also said its number of registered users has doubled to 200 million in the last year, and monthly active users have reached 70 million.
Tango’s primary growth focus has been in the US, where about 25% of its users live, but the app also has a large presence in the Middle East and in parts of Asia like Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
Earlier this week, Alibaba confirmed plans to go public in the US, an IPO expected to be the largest ever in the US by a Chinese company by raising as much as $15 billion.