The war between Alibaba Group Holdings and Tencent Holdings Ltd. (00700.HK) on social messaging services has escalated after Alibaba chairman Jack Ma set a mandatory expansion target for his firm’s own instant messaging application, Ming Pao Daily reported Tuesday. Ma ordered his employees to use the “Laiwang” application that was launched last month, and each employee is required to develop at least 100 friends at the application platform outside Alibaba before the end of November, the paper said. This comes after the e-commerce giant banned its customers from using Tencent’s popular WeChat mobile messaging app to do business on Alibaba sites like Tmall and Taobao. WeChat, which has more than 300 million users in China now, could challenge Alibaba if Tencent takes the initiative to develop e-commerce, the report said.
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