Chinese search engine company Baidu recently reached an agreement with Nokia to provide map services to Chinese users outside China as Baidu aims to develop international businesses through mobile services.
Nokia's map and navigation business Here announced that it will provide overseas map data to Baidu map, targeting the Chinese outbound tourist market. Here will provide data to Baidu map's desktop, iOS, and Android editions. The new service will first be available in Taiwan and gradually cover other countries and regions.
Baidu currently offers full map services in China; however, it does not have good map data outside China and many users would argue its map data even inside China is poor. Meanwhile, Nokia has been focusing on the Chinese market over the past years and accumulated experience and intellectual property rights in the Chinese-language service sector, which can be used to develop and customize the Chinese-language world map. At present, Here provides map services in nearly 200 countries and regions as well as navigation functions in 118 countries and regions around the world.
The latest quarterly performance showed that Here realized net operating revenue of EUR236 million, which was about USD294 million; while Nokia's total net operating revenue was EUR3.3 billion.
Statistics from China Tourism Association revealed that over the past few years, the number of Chinese outbound tourists saw a significant increase. In 2013, the number of Chinese outbound tourists was 98.19 million, a year-on-year increase of 18% and the related expense reached USD128.7 billion, a year-on-year increase of 27%. For the year of 2014, the number of Chinese outbound tourists is expected to reach 114 million and the related expense is expected to be USD140 billion.
For those Chinese traveling overseas, they can also use Google Maps in Chinese-language. And because Google has a much better and more transparent mapping service, it may make for a better experience for Chinese users who depart China's censored content regions.