China’s market for mobile chat applications has never been so crowded especially after Alibaba Group Holding Ltd – the country’s largest e-commerce company – officially joined the fray on Monday with the launch of its first social networking app.
The app named Laiwang, which means come and go in Chinese, is the first product unveiled to the public after the company announced an internal restructuring program earlier this month with a strong focus on the mobile Internet business.
Alibaba believes that the era of the personal computer has ended and the company’s expansion to social networking systems is a natural evolution driven by the public’s growing reliance on mobile phones. Alibaba has its eye on consumer demand and its objective is to lock up a great number of mobile Internet users. Data from Analysys International showed that the accumulated number of mobile instant messaging accounts in China jumped 85.2 percent year-on-year to 1.22 billion in the first quarter of this year.