(2015-03-12) Snapchat Alibaba Ecommerce

SnapChat is back in the news alongside AliBaba, which is investing $200 million as part of a new $500 million finding round... One notable point is that Alibaba missed the Instant Messaging-app race in China. That’s its single-greatest failure as a business. With money to burn, it is making another small bet (comparative to its wealth) on a messaging app — don’t forget that it invested $215 million in TanGo last year... Critical to understanding Alibaba’s interest in messaging is that rival TenCent’s WeChat app utterly dominates China to the point that it can be considered the de facto mobile intranet for the country... We Chat may be the common interface for how most Chinese use the Internet, but it hasn’t impacted Alibaba’s dominant E Commerce business. Yet.

Snapchat previously took money from Tencent, a move that almost certainly helped Snapchat get savvy about messaging. CEO Evan Spiegel has been vocal in his admiration for the way that Asian messaging apps make money — via digital content, games, commerce, media and more. Those business models are likely to have shaped his thinking for Snapchat’s product roadmap and monetization plans, particularly as Tencent is an investor.

The first building block is already in place for Snapchat commerce: payments. The company launched its Snap Cash service last year.


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