Alibaba’s DingTalk Acquires PaaS Firm Pano

36Kr learned on Friday from several individuals familiar with the matter that DingTalk, an office tool created by Chinese tech giant Alibaba, has completed the acquisition of a real-time audio and video platform-as-a-service (PaaS) provider called Pano.

After the acquisition, Zhao Jiayu, founder of Pano, will serve as the head of a newly established DingTalk Audio and Video Division, and the original Pano team will join the new entity as a whole.

Pano is a new prominent company in the field of real-time audio and video PaaS. Established in 2019, the company has technical advantages in the underlying coding technology. Pano Venus, a low-code high-definition coding engine, is the first time that the new generation video coding standard AV1 has been applied in real-time systems developed by Chinese companies. This can replace the existing mainstream coding standard H.264, which is a breakthrough in coding technology.

According to the insiders cited in 36Kr‘s report, the acquisition of Pano is not only intended to supplement the technical capabilities of DingTalk, but it will also involve the absorption of Pano’s core teams. For DingTalk, the most direct change brought about by the acquisition is the expansion of its audio and video production and research strength, which increases competitiveness at the team level, thus enhancing users’ experience of the product.

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The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 brought opportunities to conference-related product developers in the market. According to data released by DingTalk in March 2020, the number of online conferences initiated on its platform exceeded 20 million in a single day with over 100 million individuals having used the product. During the pandemic, DingTalk decided to put resources into its education and government related business, which brought about rapid growth. Its audio, video and document products, however, lagged behind its rivals.

In October, 2021, DingTalk announced that its strategy would shift from scale to deep value. Jun Ye, president of DingTalk, previously revealed that after forming a strategic leading position in the industry, it is necessary for the company to polish, complete and strengthen the capabilities of its products such as audio and video to improve user experience.