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Digital mapping market growing in China

Beijing, China, 4 May 2006 – Digital navigation maps accessed from vehicles and mobile phones are an indicator of China’s future mobile lifestyle, as more Chinese turn to them for directions. “Quite a number of automobile producers, both domestic and international, will install our navigating map in their new models,” said Sun Yuguo, president of Beijing-based NavInfo Co Ltd, which is the country’s top cartographic information provider. Sixteen car brands use NavInfo’s map service.

Leading mobile phone manufacturers are also eager to join forces with the mapping giant, propelled by the success of Nokia, which marketed a new mobile personal navigation module late last year. Presently, less than 1 per cent of cars in China are equipped with the device, said Sun. In Japan, half of the cars navigate digitally.

But, the Chinese market is growing quickly. Beijing plans to plant GPS receivers in all its buses and taxis by 2008, which “implies a big market for the navigating map,” said Sun.

By 2015, China will demand 26 million sets of in-car and personal navigation systems, about 28 times more than last year, thanks to the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 Shanghai World Expo, a survey released in March by Yano Research Institute found.

There are nine cartographic information providers in China. NavInfo is the oldest, and occupies more than 80 per cent of the in-car navigation map market in China. The company has the most complete map data that spans more than 300 cities across the country, excluding Taiwan Province and Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions. The data is updated twice a year for big cities, and annually for smaller ones. By co-operating with telecommunications giant China Unicom, the map is accessible to mobile phone users trying to find destinations.