Alibaba's Dingtalk is available on both desktop and mobile.

Alibaba’s Dingtalk is available on both desktop and mobile.

The team at Alibaba Group which developed Laiwang, the messaging app aiming to supplant Tencent’s WeChat, has stealthily launched a team collaboration app named Dingtalk, or Dingding.

Dingtalk is more like a WeChat app for business, enabling staff to search for colleagues and conduct one-on-one or group chats. With several Chinese tech companies, including WeChat and TouchPal, having recently developed apps for VoIP calls or added the feature to their existing apps, it’s no surprise to find free voice calls included in Dingtalk. The app has also integrated FaceTime.

Alibaba isn’t alone developing a WeChat-like app for businesses in China. The redesigned mobile apps of Salesforce-like service Fxiaoke and Yammer-like service Mingdao have adopted WeChat’s interface to help users pick up their services more quickly.

Alibaba released a revamped version of its Laiwang messaging app in September 2013, hoping to grab a 30% share of the market currently dominated by WeChat. At the same time, some of China’s other major internet companies developed their answers to WeChat, such as Netease’s EasyChat and Sina’s WeMeet. But none of them have successfully snared WeChat’s users.

When it comes to mobile messaging for business, WeChat has taken a different approach. Instead of developing a separate app, it released an API last September for enterprises to develop customized features for employees to collaborate with each other on WeChat.

 

Editing by Mike Cormack (@bucketoftongues)