Alibaba follows Facebook at Work’s lead

On the heels of the recent announcement by Facebook about a limited beta for Facebook at Work (see The impact of Facebook at Work? Huge., and Facebook rolling out limited beta of Facebook At Work), apparently Alibaba likes the fusion of a consumer messaging app and social networking for business.

The company is piloting a new mobile app called DingTalk, with a stealthy beta that started in December. According to Alibaba’s IPO documents, the service has 8.5 million sellers on its e-commerce sites, and these are likely to be an initial beachhead of small to medium businesses to penetrate with DingTalk.

Screenshot 2015-01-21 10.46.48

Alibaba has failed to get very far in the Chinese marketplace with mobile messaging, which is dominated by Tencent’s WeChat (known as Weixin in China) which has 468 million monthly active users.

Perhaps Facebook would have more competition if WeChat at Work were announced?

What is clear is that the consumerization of work is still steaming along, internationally, and the trend feels like it is accelerating.