Top 3 Enterprise Collaboration Suite in China: High Level of Competition, Strengths are Weaknesses

JimmyLv_吕立青
6 min readApr 8, 2022

--

China’s 3 Internet Big Companies: Alibaba, Tencent, and ByteDance

Competing at a high level, strengths are weaknesses.

So enterprises can only consider them as their own characteristics and find a unique niche, and then wait for their opponents to make mistakes.

These are the top 3 enterprise collaboration suites in China, let’s first look at the comparison of their team numbers (as of October 2021):

  • Alibaba’s DingTalk, less than 2,000 people.
  • Tencent’s WeCom, 600~700 people.
  • ByteDance’s Lark, around 5, 000 people.

According to QuestMobile, the number of active users in September 2021 is:

The number of monthly active users of “DingTalk” is 196 million, followed by “WeCom” (88.89 million) and “Lark” (4.6 million).

Comparing the number of team members, it is a bit interesting, BAT (ByteDance+Alibaba+Tencent) three have their own characteristics.

DingTalk, the keyword is “management”.

Both the strengths are weaknesses are captured in the fineness of the boss.

The advantage is that the company started by serving the customers with strong control functions, such as Check-in, Read Status, Ding, Attendance Machine, etc., which gained a large number of customers in the early stage.

However, the brand perception formed as a result would make many young people, including the young managers, disagree and think that the concept is not advanced enough.

There are many “representatives of advanced productivity” in the Internet media, and they have formed a “politically correct” way to promote Lark and despise DingTalk.

Of course, DingTalk must also be aware of this, and after the number of users reached 500 million or 600 million by “pleasing the audience”.

It is obvious that DingTalk has also moved from the rapid expansion period of “getting bigger” to the platform development period of “getting deeper in value”.

For example, with the introduction of 3 important modules, namely DingTalk Document, DingTalk Meeting, and DingTalk Project, it is obvious that DingTalk is making efforts to improve the quality of its services.

The power to improve collaboration and give more value to employees (not just these managers) is what makes Lark so useful and good reputation.

When the top products in a field become bigger, the functional aspects can be infinitely close, but the user mindset is another issue, and it takes a lot of time to change.

DingTalking deliberately limited its team to 2,000 people, so it obviously couldn’t do everything on its own.

So it forced itself to use a more open platform approach and work with a large number of players in the ecosystem to make DingTalking the entry point for the Digital Transition of (traditional) enterprises.

For example, it provides a low-code platform for secondary development of enterprises, the ability to access vertical SaaS products such as Yonyou and Kingdee.

As an open platform, DingTalk provides the ability to customize various solutions and even the ability to send messages directly to WeChat.

This continues to go back to the path that Alibaba is good at, of course, must have the support of Alibaba Cloud behind, it in order to have “YunDingYiTi” (云钉一体: Alibaba Cloud + DingTalk).

The most significant change over the past year has been the shift from “bullying” to “negotiating”, and this is the feedback received from some of DingTalk's partners.

WeCom, the keyword is “communication”.

Both strengths are weaknesses are seamlessly connected to WeChat.

The advantage is the seamless interoperability with WeChat, making it the first choice for positions that require communication with a large number of external customers, such as sales, customer service, family-school interaction, and other scenarios.

Relying on WeChat, a super app for young and old, WeCom occupies a huge entrance advantage, and it is most natural for enterprises to add a WeChat when they want to operate private domain fans.

But the problem is that in the minds of business users, WeCom will become a marketing service tool, it is relatively thin, and it is difficult to penetrate into the business flow of enterprises.

Although in terms of solution depth, WeCom is temporarily between DingTalks and Lark, but many enterprises only use it as a communication tool with their customers.

So far, it seems that WeCome has chosen to hold on to Tencent’s strongest communication skill, make a good tool, and then wait for an opportunity to make a move.

The ROI is high, the investment is small, easy to defend, and difficult to attack, but the number of people in the team so far, it seems that the ambition is not very big.

Lark, the keyword is “collaboration”.

Both strengths are weaknesses represent advanced productivity.

The advantage is that the concept is advanced, and at least the perception caused by external publicity is that this is the “next-generation work style”.

The product is sophisticated and well-positioned, but it is only destined to reach a small group of special users first — — this is, of course, a group of highly productive people who are defined as “knowledge writers” within the program.

For example, the “WeiXiaoLi” (Nio, XPeng, and Li Auto) are all using Lark, and their appeal cannot be denied.

It’s a great way to get the most out of your work, when users chose to use Lark that is a sense of honor.

The program is designed to be a simple and easy-to-use tool for employees, while DingTalk is a management tool that requires training and service before and during use.

From the number of team members, the ambition of Lark is not small, should be intended to do its own exquisite closed loop, which is a little like the early iPhone (vs Android ). First closed, then choose when to open up.

The biggest problem with the program is that it will encounter huge challenges in the future to grow and break the circle.

However, after breaking the circle, as in the manufacturing industry, it seems that it is not easy to be downwardly compatible and slow down the production force to match the production relationship of traditional enterprises.

The last time Huawei made up its mind to make a cell phone was when it felt like a saturation attack. It is a challenge to the company’s patience to invest in thousands of people, but it is good for the industry to see results quickly.

Highly leveled competition, strengths are weaknesses

Many enterprises use 2 or even 3 programs at the same time, depending on their business needs, such as DingTalk business solutions, communicating with customers using WeCom, and using Lark’s documents and OKRs.

It is also easy to understand the advantages of each in retrospect.

Inside corporate organizations, “information is power,” and we can compare the apparent differences between the three organizations from this perspective:

  • DingTalk: desire from up to down,
  • WeCom: connect internal with external (w/ WeChat)
  • Lark: left and right resonance.

How will this develop, given the differences in management and organizational philosophy behind it?

The new generation of BAT will be worth watching for a long time, and it will be interesting to watch the battle.

In addition, the Chinese government also does not want to have a single player in the 2B sector, which is a deep priority, as in the 2C sector, which is a wireless priority.

Let’s conclude with a quote from Einstein’s book, The World as I See It

The joy of observation and understanding is one of the most beautiful gifts of nature.

PS. Most of the content is translated from 钉钉vs企业微信vs飞书的不同, with appropriate modifications to fit the English context.

--

--