Alibaba Nabs Stake in Digital Mapping Firm

May 13, 2013

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group has invested nearly $300 million in AutoNavi Holdings Ltd., good for a 28 percent stake in the digital mapping company. The companies said the strategic alliance will foster cooperation in the areas of map engine, location search, navigation and cloud computing services. The parties plan to share AutoNavi’s map data and location-related information of the merchants on Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms.

“Our new alliance with Alibaba highlights the importance of map applications as a key entry point for mobile services in the age of smartphones,” said Congwu Cheng, AutoNavi’s CEO. “With Alibaba’s support, AutoNavi will be able to establish a massive platform of points of interest (POIs) related to the kinds of services our users seek every day. The alliance will also enable us to create an innovative monetization model by providing consumers with a one-stop service application that integrates merchant information with POIs search, data mining, payment, and other e-commerce activities.”

Alibaba runs Taobao Marketplace, China’s largest consumer-focused e-commerce website; business-to-business commerce platform; and Alipay, a PayPal-like online payment platform.