Snapchat may soon count Alibaba Group Holdings among its high-profile backers, with the Chinese e-commerce giant planning to invest up to $200 million in the picture messaging platform, according to unconfirmed reports.
On Thursday, Bloomberg Business reported that unnamed sources familiar with the situation had indicated that the potential investment was based on a valuation for Snapchat of $15 billion.
It is unclear if any such investment from Alibaba Group would be in addition to the $500 million capital-raising effort that Snapchat was reputed to have been in discussions for last month, which could see the company valued at $16 billion to $19 billion if successfully completed.
It has been estimated that if the potential $500 million funding round is completed, it would make Snapchat the third most valuable venture-backed company in the world, behind ride-share app developer Uber and Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi.
The Los Angeles-based image messaging company was reportedly valued at $10 billion as recently as January this year, after closing a $486 million round of funding, which was quietly disclosed in a regulatory filing on New Year's Eve.
As of May last year -- almost three years since its 2011 launch -- the platform's users were sending up to 700 million photos and videos per day.