One day I walked out onto my lawn in Sydney and saw a Google car with a camera on top. Later Google StreetView was launched and made getting around so much easier. Rather than following street name directions, I could go on Google Maps, turn on StreetView and visualize the exact route with landmarks. I am really bad at directions, so StreetView really made life better for me.

In China, there has been no such service, until now. Tencent owned search engine, Soso.com, has just launched their own version of streetview maps in three locations: Shenzhen (where Tencent is based), Lhasa, the capital of Tibet and other mountain regions of Tibet. Other cities will be gradually launched soon but it is unfortunate, Beijing is not yet live.

The fact that Soso released StreetView earlier than Baidu is quite impressive. Perhaps Baidu calculated, undertaking such an ambitious task in China would be too expensive and not generate a return on investment.

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Jason Lim

Jason is an Australian born Chinese living in Beijing, specializing in entrepreneurship, start-ups and the investment eco-system in China, especially in the tech and social area.