Alibaba has not confirmed the investment.
The cash injection would come only a month after Snapchat said that it was seeking a valuation of $19 billion. At the end of last year it was valued at $10 billion.
Snapchat, which is understood to have monthly average users of close to 200 million, is increasing its news and entertainment functionality. AT&T recently announced that it would partner with the firm to launch a scripted superhero series.