Business / Companies

Netizens navigate with Baidu map

By Gao Yuan (China Daily) Updated: 2012-06-08 11:05

More than 60 percent of the nation's netizens are using Baidu Inc's online map platform, as Google Map continue to lose market share to its Chinese competitors, the Beijing-based Internet research company Analysys International said on Thursday.

China's domestic map and navigation website, Baidu Map, attracted 61.6 percent of the daily unique visitors in the nation's online map service sector during the first quarter.

Google Map, a Web map service provided by Google Inc, was ranked second with 13.1 percent of the daily unique visitors.

Google Map had a little more than 10 percent of the market in China in December.

New services, such as hotel bookings, helped Baidu secure the top spot in the nation's map sector, said Analysys, adding that more local online map providers are likely to release customized services in a bid to grab a larger market share.

On Tuesday, Google released its next-generation map product. Its' new features will include offline map viewing and three-dimensional maps for large international cities.

However, the US Web giant hit a wall in China in terms of getting an online map service license after it withdrew from the Chinese mainland market in 2010.

"Google Map was only allowed to operate its current services starting in February. Missing out on new products on the Chinese mainland will certainly reduce Google Map's competitive strength in the market," said Yin Xinglong, an analyst from Analysys.

However, Google Map has been able to keep its edge in the mobile map sector against Baidu Map, said a separate report by Analysys.

Its 23-percent market share helped Google to clinch the No 2 place on the list of the most used map services among the nation's mobile phone users. The local navigation provider AutoNavi topped the list with more than 26 percent of the market.

Baidu was ranked third, with about 14 percent.

In March, Robin Li, Baidu's founder and CEO, told a developers' conference that the company will do more to develop location-based services, a move that is heavily reliant on the company's map-related services.

By 2011, China had about 130 million smartphone users, a large customer source for mobile map services, statistics from iResearch Consulting Group show.

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