Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant that provides sales services via web portals, has officially launched a corporate instant messaging application- called DingTalk, which is basically an enterprise chat specialist, focusing on small-to-medium sized businesses.

The new messaging app will provide free multi-party voice calls and ‘Ding convey’ important messages, along with corporate address lists. DingTalk was in a beta period last December and was launched in China this week. As of now, it is only available in Chinese, for iOS, Android, web browsers, and OS X.

Companies can be grouped into departments, enabling simpler on-the-go interdepartmental communication and eliminating the need to type every team member’s name into a single, huge group text. When you send group notifications, it shows you real time whether it has been viewed by every team member.

Also, third party conference calls aren’t needed anymore- conferencing is a feature on the app. Individuals in a department can be contacted, well, individually, with text, email, voice recording, or calls. It is fast and free-yes, the cost of calls generated will be covered by Alibaba.- all you need is a wifi enabled device. Intel China is a biggie that is already using the app, thanks to the extended beta testing.

DingTalk is currently facing stiff competition from apps like Maimai, Fengche, WorkingIM and Mingdao, which are custom built for Chinese businesses. Tencent’s WeChat, the biggest competition to DingTalk, also released enterprise accounts, to simplify companies’ internal processes- this entails higher security and project collaboration. So, one of the biggest things working in  favor of the latter is the Alibaba brand backing.

The team at Alibaba will surely cross fingers for creating a firm social footprint, after the dismal performance of its other social endeavors- the mobile messaging app Laiwang or its OS Aliyun.

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