Alibaba-backed office chat app DingTalk enters India with eye on SMEs

Alibaba-backed Chinese firm DingTalk, which offers team messaging and collaboration applications for enterprises, has decided to enter India.

DingTalk has launched an English version of its app in the country that will compete with the likes of Flock, Slack and Facebook Workplace.

The company targets small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and counts five million enterprises as clients in China spread across the e-commerce, manufacturing, education and finance sectors.

With India, it is entering a market with one of the fastest-growing SME segments.

The DingTalk app is available on iOS and Android for mobile, and Mac and Windows for desktop. It offers unified communication, office automation, internal and external collaboration, open platform and security certification.

DingTalk supports audio/video conference calls for up to 3,000 parties in a single call - currently only available via VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) for users outside China.

Its unified communication features include integrated emails, chats and message reminders. DingTalk has office automation tools including features that allow businesses to manage attendance, make approvals, mantain business eports and send files of up to 700 MB.

The app also allows integration with third-party SaaS (software-as-a-service) applications and services and provides an enterprise service ecosystem for SMEs.

In terms of internal and external collaboration, businesses can book and host meetings, manage customer information, create tasks and service tickets and set up private chats.

In a separate development, Alibaba has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) model that can score higher than humans on a Stanford University reading and comprehension test, reports Bloomberg.

The AI model was made to run through 1,00,000 questions in a quiz that could verify the authenticity of a machine-learning programme.

Alibaba's Institute of Data Science of Technologies, which made the AI model, said that it had scored 82.440, narrowly beating the best human score of 82.304. Microsoft had run a similar test with similar results.

The Jack Ma-led group has been competing with Chinese rivals such as Tencent Holdings and Baidu to develop an AI that can help improve targeted advertisements, self-driving cars and social media feeds.

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