China: Thirty-one enterprises including Baidu, Sina, Tencent, Sogou and Alibaba were approved as A-class companies that can provide Internet mapping services, according to the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping (SBSM). This means that a license must be granted before enterprises can provide Internet mapping services. Google China was not included on the list.
SBSM said that the approved 31 A-class Internet mapping companies can now provide their Internet mapping services according to relevant laws and regulations after receiving their licenses.
Internet mapping services includes map searching and locating, geographical information, map downloading and copying, and direction-sending and map-embedding services. Enterprises that have been granted licenses to provide online mapping services are allowed to provide these four services.
Enterprises that are approved as B-class enterprises for providing online mapping services are only able to offer map searching and locating, and geographical information services, but are prohibited from providing map downloading and copying, and direction-sending and map-embedding services.
The SBSM stressed that foreign enterprises engaged in Internet mapping services should adopt forms of joint ventures or cooperation for the approval according to law. Surveying and mapping administrative departments as well as other related departments will deal with those enterprises engaged in Internet mapping services that did not apply for the qualification according to law.
The first list shows that enterprises such as Nokia Lianxin Internet Services have obtained the qualification while Google was not included in the list. The future of Google’s mapping services look bleak. Wang Jinhong, public relations officer from Google, said that there is currently no information on Google’s mapping services to be released. She also refused to answer the question of whether Google has submitted applications for the mapping service license.