We introduced the new version of AutoNavi app briefly earlier. It turns out that this edition also enables sending destinations from Amap, the map service of AutoNavi’s, to car. AutoNavi has reached partnership with several local car manufacturers such as ROEWE, MG iVoka and BYD according to Feng Hanping, VP of technology at AutoNavi (in Chinese).
Before shifting to enduser-facing maps services, AutoNavi was focused on providing map data and navigation services to car makers or other businesses. Till now its customers include BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and so on. It is estimated that AutoNavi and NaviInfo, its direct competitor back then, accounted for 90% of the automobile navigation market in 2012.
Unlike AutoNavi that develop apps and services for end-users, AuNavInfo (SZ:002405) has been focused on serving businesses, offering map data to not only automobile manufacturers but also map services including Baidu Maps, Sogou Maps, Mapbar, Navidog and Nokia. The falling of Nokia, the once biggest customer of NavInfo, was the main cause of the decrease in revenue in 2012, the first time since 2007. However, its income from car navigation has been increasing.
When local service providers are busy grabbing land, automobile manufacturers especially the big names are not blind. BMW established a research center in Shanghai to better serve Chinese users in in-car connectivity. I met with Carsten Isert, head of the research center, at this year’s GMIC. He told me their focus was localizing the services BMW has already offered in car and for mobile phones. They wanted to add more Chinese engineers to the four-member team where he is the only foreigner.
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