Chat App Tango Plans To Make It’s Presence Known In China This Year.
It was quite a shocker when a free messaging and calling application for iOS and Android, Tango, had received a $280 million funding round led by Chinese giant e-commerce Alibaba earlier within the year. Since Tango’s largest market is based in the US, with a total of 200 million registered user, 50 million of those are located in the US.
When the deal was previously announced, co-founder and CTO Eric Setton was pretty vague on the future plans for Tango while in China, only commenting that it would help increase the messaging application in China and other regions of Asia, but that there wouldn’t be a China-specific partnership involved.
Although, CEO of Tango, Uri Raz, had spoken during the GMIC Beijing that they have plans on entering China, possible during this year. And it’s not necesserily trying to compete against the might of WeChat in pure messaging and calling, and wishes to expand its platform in order to add more value-added services to target users who may be searching for an alternative experience from WeChat, He stated:
The bottomline is that we are now considering coming to China and we are looking for differentiation and bringing something new to the user — not necessarily competing with WeChat, but to add on, so users can have two options.
WeChat is China’s number one messaging service and has continued to quickly catch up with the world’s most popular messaging application, WhatsApp, which has a total of 450 million monthly active users. The combined monthly active users of WeChat and Weixin (the version available in China) has reached over 355 million as of end 2013.
For that matter, Raz’s description of what Tango will eventually become while in China seems to far off from just a simple chat service.
Raz Unveiled that Tango will be launching “Channels’ softly in July, something that’s quite similar to that of WeChat’s “Official Accounts’ or even Twitter, Where they can subscribe to content provider and receive information directly from them. Raz notes that it will become far “more than Twitter” though, as Tango supports many forms of communication which shall include video, audio, animation and movies.
And ‘Channels’ shall be a huge source of Tango’s strategy in China. According to Raz:
We feel there are opportunities to bring the West into China. We are interacting with our user base and we have content providers, as our next release is ‘Channels’. So we will have hundreds of content providers, big brands that focus on the US and are Westernized and have entertainment and content that might be interesting to part of the population in China.
We know that China is opening more and more. So there is a percentage of the population in China that will find it very nice for them to interact with (for example) Disney, Hulu, all the content providers in the US. Content providers are working with us to attract the US user, but we say hey — let us take you into China.
When asked about the censorship in China, and how it would affect Tango with the content it would be providing, Raz pointed out that it focuses mainly on entertainment and there are already a huge load of Western movies, for instance, that have debuted in the country. If the government were to ever object, Raz said that tang would do its best to do what has to and censor if needed, because it respects different cultures in different countries.