Alibaba & AutoNavi explore location-based e-commerce opportunities

Developing digital maps with Alibaba investment

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is investing USD294m in online map developer AutoNavi in return for a 28% stake as the pair form a strategic alliance to explore the location-based e-commerce space. Beijing-based AutoNavi says both companies will combine data so that consumers can use smartphones to search for products and stores, and then be given a relevant map with directions.

Founded in 2002, AutoNavi claims its digital maps cover more than 3.6km of roads in China, while using software that is compatible with computers and mobiles.  Alibaba, also based in China, was founded in 1999 and has international offices in more than 70 cities.

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