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Alibaba’s map app AutoNavi evolves into open service platform

Written by KrASIA Connection Published on     2 mins read

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In addition to its core mapping and mobility offerings, AutoNavi will integrate dining, entertainment, and lifestyle services.

Alibaba-backed mapping app AutoNavi is evolving into an “open service platform” to integrate a range of dining, entertainment, and lifestyle services, chairman Yu Yongfu said at a press conference in Beijing on Thursday. China’s most popular map app, with more than 47 million monthly active users as of November 2020, teamed up with well-known comedian Yu Qian to promote the offerings under a new tagline, “Everywhere is familiar.”

With 19 years of experience in providing mapping services, AutoNavi has largely stuck to its core navigation features, including augmented reality route functions and lane-level precision navigation until it launched ride-hailing capabilities in 2018. The company has ramped up its ride services in the past year, cooperating with local taxi associations to ferry passengers in Beijing, Shenzhen, Tianjin, and Kunming.

So far, AutoNavi has solved users’ pain points of identifying one’s location and determining the best way to reach a destination, but the platform is now evolving to provide suggestions of new locales to explore, Yu Yongfu said. Unlike door-to-door services like food delivery, AutoNavi is targeting social consumption scenarios like dining out, nightlife, and entertainment activities. Alibaba recently restructured its on-demand services so that travel booking platform Fliggy will be further integrated with AutoNavi, enabling users of the map app to book hotels or event tickets.

In September 2020, AutoNavi released a report covering popular dining, hospitality, and entertainment destinations across more than 350 cities in China. “In the past, everyone became accustomed to using AutoNavi for navigation. In the future, I hope that everyone will use AutoNavi for going out and enjoying life.” said Yu Yongfu. Going forward, the platform is enabling more user-generated content, with features giving people the means to create guides and personalized content within AutoNavi.

Read this: Alibaba and Tencent weigh openings in ‘walled gardens’ to make services accessible to each other

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KrASIA Connection features translated and adapted content published by 36Kr. This article was originally written by Su Jianxun for 36Kr.

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