Alibaba’s enterprise communication app Dingtalk has added a suite of new features in its latest update including “Circle,” a WeChat Moments-like social feed.
Why it matters: Dingtalk is looking to capture new users by expanding its offerings beyond enterprise clients to small businesses and shop owners.
- The app received thousands of one-star reviews on the App Store, backlash from discontented users — namely office workers and students forced to rely on communication tools to resume work or study remotely after the prolonged Spring Festival ended.
- The high demand for online communication tools like Dingtalk during the outbreak has opened up opportunities. Dingtalk added an online classroom feature at the end of January, which 50 million students used when classes resumed.
Details: The newly updated version 5.0 comes with a suite of virtual office features including online collaboration tools, document editor, and storage space, the company announced Tuesday during an online press conference. However, the most noteworthy update is the new social feature called Circle, which bears resemblance to the popular Moments newsfeed feature in mega chatting app WeChat.
- Like Moments, Circle allows organizations and enterprises to create a private circle for social media posts, allowing them to “like” or “comment” on members’ posts.
- It is not only for internal use within companies, the company said. Business partners, students and teachers, platform and merchants, and fans can also create their own Circle.
- For example, teachers also can use Circle to post homework, announcements, and photos. And platforms like Alibaba’s Taobao can create a Circle with shopowners that sell on its e-commerce platform.
- There are four types of Circle: “internal” for enterprise and organizations and its members, “online education” for teachers and students, “business exchange” for business partners, “community operation and management” for fans.
- The Circle function is free of charge for enterprises and organizations.
Context: Emerging internet services including online education and online enterprise services are seeing an upside due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
- Alibaba and its affiliated company Ant Financial have also expanded into enterprise services. The fintech firm launched a work collaboration tool called Yuque in December.