While the Internet Of Things frenzy is in full swing in China, local tech giants are expanding their interests in connecting cars.

Chinese internet giant Tencent unveiled its internet-of-vehicle (IoV) open platform Tencent Automotive Services yesterday with the launch of an IoV ROM, an IoV app as well as API MyCar.

Powered by the Android system, the new IoV ROM sports multiple smartphone-like capabilities, such as navigation, instant messaging, news, security services and weather applications. Tencent Map and Didi Chuxing provide navigation data to the system. Its WeChat and QQ integration allow speech input and real-time location sharing. The system, which is still under trial, is now compatible with some Volkswagen cars.

The IoV app is mainly designed for in-vehicle systems without internet access. After connecting your smartphone and car through USB or WiFi, users can browse all the information on Tencent’s infotainment platform via the on-board system. The app supports the connectivity protocol of Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto, and a full range of car brands including Ford, BMW, and Mercedes.

MyCar enables car owners to monitor your vehicle on smartphone, share music and locations, and check car conditions.

The company emphasized that Tencent Automotive Service is an open platform providing a standardized access for segmented automotive systems by using its rich resources in content, social networking and security.

Tencent has been quite active in IoV sector since last year with the launch of IoV plug-and-play gadget Lubao Box and investment in mapping company NavInfo. Tencent-NavInfo cooperation also brought up WeDrive, a comprehensive IoV solution.

Researchers have released quite promising projections for China’s IoV potential, expecting the whole market size to hit 150 billion RMB ($23.55 billion USD) by 2015. It is estimated that 90% of the automobiles will have wireless-internet connectivity as of the end of 2020, a sign indicating that car will become another internet access point after the smartphone.

Along with the growth of China’s IoV dynamics, Chinese internet companies have started to explore the booming sector. Baidu launched an infotainment platform CarLife at the beginning of this year. Alibaba’s partnership with automaker SAIC Motor Corp gives its homegrown system YUN OS wider application to cars in line with the company’s attempt to expand beyond their e-commerce business. Chinese video company LeTV also released a custom OS for the company’s electric car project unveiled last year.

Image credit: Sohu Tech

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via lixin@sixthtone.com or Twitter.

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