Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba invested $215 million in Series D funding of U.S. mobile messaging app Tango. The total amount of this round reached $ 280 million on aggregate together with investments from some prior investors of the company, including Access Industries, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Jerry Yang, a co-founder of Yahoo Inc. As part of this financing, Michael Zeisser, former head of Alibaba’s U.S investment subsidiary, will join the board of directors of Tango.

In addition to messaging and calling services, Tango also introduced new social networking features that allow members to share updates or photos and to find new friends, as well as a content platform that is now home to more than 30 games. It also supports social music sharing through integration with Spotify, which means members can now send each other songs.

Launched in September 2009, the app is now available on iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets, Blackberry, Kindle Fire and PC and works across platforms and networks. It now claims 200 million registered users and 70 million active users, mainly from North America, the Middle East, Taiwan and Singapore.

This tie-up may help Alibaba’s home-brew IM tool Laiwang, a challenger of Tencent’s WeChat in domestic market, to improve its messaging and video call features. Alibaba takes Laiwang as a breakthrough point for wireless business and launched promotion activities for the app both internally and externally last year.

Tango has previously secured around $87 million of funding from Access Industries, DFJ, Qualcomm Ventures, Toms Capital, Translink Capital and individual investors like Bill Tai, Shimon Weintraub, Jerry Yang and Alex Zubillaga.

image credit: Tango

Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at