Alibaba’s map app rolls out listings for mom-and-pop shops

Small shops have a new channel to reach more than 100 million potential customers.

Source: Pixabay.

AutoNavi, also known as Gaode in China, has rolled out a free feature for small shops to become certified businesses and share relevant information—such as business hours and contact numbers—on the platform.

Acquired by Alibaba in 2014 for USD 1.5 billion (over RMB 10 billion), AutoNavi is one of China’s most popular map apps, passing 100 million daily users in October 2018.

Baidu Maps, the other frontrunner in China, had an estimated 300 million monthly users in 2017, according to Quest Mobile, though the company has not revealed its own monthly or daily usage numbers.

The business listing feature will give new opportunities for shops to reach AutoNavi’s large user base. It may also lay the foundation for shops that were previously ‘off-the-map’ to become part of Alibaba’s ecosystem, particularly as the e-commerce giant pushes for the integration of offline and online channels under its ‘new retail’ vision.

Editor: Nadine Freischlad