Laiwang, the messaging app launched by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba in September, has reached 10 million users, the company announced.

Although Laiwang is a long way behind China’s most popular messaging app, Weixin/WeChat —  which had around 272 million users at the end of the third quarter — it reportedly took five months for Weixin to reach four million users following its launch in January 2011.

Alibaba Group CEO Jonathan Lu attributed Laiwang’s promising start to its differentiating features, such as support for group chats of up to 500 people and the ability to automatically delete voice messages once they have been heard.

The app now allows brands and celebrities to create public accounts, through which they can interact with fans.

Laiwang is central to Alibaba’s push in the mobile internet space, which it sees as crucial to the company’s future success.

The company created an internet communications unit to lead the its mobile strategy and bought a stake in Sina’s Weibo microblogging platform in April. It subsequently released a product to allow Weibo users to shop via its Taobao Marketplace on their mobile devices.