Tesla’s mainland map service provider switched to Baidu

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/1/19 21:38:40

Tesla’s mainland map service provider switched

Photo: VCG

US electric vehicle company Tesla has switched its provider of map data services in the Chinese mainland to Baidu, the Chinese internet company that has led the nation's self-driving push, said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Sunday.

The two companies jointly made the announcement on Friday that Tesla's navigation system will be refurbished with Baidu Maps' data services, read the statement. 

Baidu also unveiled an application program interface known as scalable vector graphics for its mapping app to equip Tesla with base map displays, real-time road conditions and searches for specific point locations, among other data services. 

Other than the new tie-up, the Chinese internet giant announced that more than 60 auto brands have worked with its open-source auto-driving technology platform Apollo, with cooperating car models topping 400 and the cumulative number of car owners having been serviced totaling more than 10 million.

Tesla also announced the switch on its official Weibo account on Friday. 

Interestingly, neither Baidu nor Tesla identified the map data service provider that was replaced. 

It was not the first time that Tesla changed its mainland mapping service provider, the National Business Daily reported over the weekend. Tesla's mapping data used in the mainland came initially from Chinese mapping company NavInfo, and Tesla switched from NavInfo to Tencent in 2018. What's somewhat obscure is that Tencent is the second-largest shareholder of NavInfo, owning 9.75 percent of the mapping company, and Tencent Maps still relies on NavInfo for its basic mapping data.

Tencent has yet to comment on the switch. NavInfo said in a statement posted on its website on Friday that Tesla's replacement of its online map partner is irrelevant to the company. 

The previous product that was replaced was not provided by NavInfo, the statement said, noting that NavInfo's partnership with Tesla continues. NavInfo claimed that it has been providing mapping products for all Tesla vehicles since the automaker's foray into the mainland in 2014.

Tesla edged down 0.58 percent to $510.5 in US trading on Friday, while Tencent closed down 0.25 percent to HK$399 ($51.37). Shenzhen-listed NavInfo finished up 1.08 percent to 17.78 yuan ($2.59) on Friday. 

Newspaper headline: Tesla’s mainland map service provider switched

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