Meituan Dianping has started hiring for its new mapping and navigation services unit, a move that could help the services giant to increase its presence in ride-hailing and unmanned deliveries.
Why it matters: Mapping has become strategically important for Chinese life service platforms with ambitions of expanding into mobility.
- The move will also help with developing IT infrastructure for existing restaurant reviews and food delivery services, as well as connected driving in the long term.
- Meituan launched its on-demand driverless delivery solution in July last year and runs trial services with delivery bots in selected office complexes and campuses in Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen.
- Caocao, Meituan’s ride-hailing venture with Geely, has amassed around 400,000 trips a day. The platform lags far behind Didi, which books 30 times as many fares daily.
- All the jobs are listed under a new service called “Meituan Maps.” A company spokeswoman confirmed that the company has been working on the project recently.
- The move comes just a month after the company hired Zhang Shaowen, a former intelligent navigation general manager and chief web architect at Baidu Maps, to serve as tech leader for Meituan’s location-based services (LBS) team.
- The services giant set up the LBS team late last year following corporate restructuring. The unit includes ride-hailing, and traffic data management.
Context: China’s tech giants are racing to transform into one-stop service aggregation platforms.
- Alibaba’s online mapper AutoNavi, also known as Amap, reportedly booked an average of 700,000 ride-hailing orders per day in July, making it China’s second-largest player in the sector.
- Meituan launched its own branded ride-hailing services in February 2017. The service was combined with its life services app in June this year, months after it began allowing users to access third party services such as Shouqi.