Alibaba’s DingTalk acquired PaaS company Pano

March 18, 2022 0 Comments

DingTalk, an enterprise communication and collaboration platform owned by Alibaba, has recently acquired Pano, a real-time audio and video PaaS cloud service provider. Zhao Jiayu, founder of Pano and WebEx veteran, will take charge of DingTalk’s newly founded audio and video business division, while the rest of Pano’s team will be incorporated into the division. The acquisition comes amid DingTalk’s recent personnel adjustment, which points Ku Wei, Alibaba’s VP and head of IoT business unit at Alibaba Cloud, as DingTalk’s new COO. 

Founded in 2019, Hangzhou-based Pano focuses on providing innovative real-time audio and video solutions in a variety of scenarios, for industries such as entertainment, social, education, gaming, video conferencing, etc. 

For instance, Pano released a “meeting in meeting” function in mid-January, which is similar to Zoom’s Breakout Rooms. According to Pano, their “meeting in meeting” function allows users to seamlessly switch between meetings, with no noticeable lags as they’ve managed to minimize their transmission lags to the milliseconds-level from the previous seconds-level. Previously, Pano has been awarded the Top Cloud Connect Award at Cloud Connect China 2021, and 2021 China Enterprise Technology 50 by Forbes. 

The acquisition of Pano signals DingTalk’s ambition to grow its video conferencing business. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, DingTalk was one of the most popular choices for remote working and remote studying. 20 million meeting sessions were initiated on DingTalk in a single day on March 23, 2020, with over 100 million participants, according to data released by DingTalk. The Alibaba-owned app recorded 500 million users at the end of 2021, making it one of the leading communication and collaboration platforms in China. 

However, competition has grown fierce as similar apps emerge. Tencent’s Tencent Meeting had 200 million users by the end of 2021, and Tencent’s WeCom(WeChat Work) had 130 million active users around the same time. ByteDance’s Feishu counts Xiaomi, Nio, Yoozoo, Cheetah Mobile, and SANY Group among its clients. 

In October 2021, DingTalk announced a strategic shift from scale-orientated to value-orientated. DingTalk’s president Ye Jun said they will polish, complement and strengthen generic product capabilities such as audio and video, and improve the product experience, which aligns with the recent acquisition of Pano. Subsequently, in November 2021, DingTalk recruited acoustic expert Feng Jinwei from Alibaba’s DAMO Academy to focus on improving DingTalk’s product capability and experience.

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

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