Nokia, Baidu Powering up Maps, Location Services Outside China

SHAFAQNA – Nokia’s Here is to Baidu what Google Maps is to Google Search, now that the Finnish firm is partnering with the player behind the Chinese search engine.

Baidu maintains China’s largest search engine and the platform is second only to Google Search on the world stage. Former handset maker Nokia, which is battling back after years of losses, created a mapping service that has received warm reviews for both its mobile and web-based iterations.

“Every day, millions of people count on Here to explore the world and discover new places whether at home or on the go,” says Bruno Bourguet, Here’s senior vice president and head of sales. “Together with Baidu, a new customer for us, we want to help the growing number of Chinese tourists get the most from their travels.”

The partnership between Baidu and Nokia is landmark, with Here powering Baidu Maps in mainland China first. Baidu Maps will run on Here in iOS and Android maps in mainland China soon, and the roll-out has already begun in Taiwan.

Baidu has been seeking to capitalize on the throngs of Chinese tourists who have gone from taking five million trips to foreign destinations in 2000 to going abroad approximately 97 million times in 2013, according to Here.

“Together with Baidu, we want to help the growing number of Chinese tourists get the most from their travels,” says Bourguet.

The rapidly evolving Here says it makes roughly 2.7 million changes to its mapping service daily. It says it bases changes on information gleaned from tens of thousands of sources, including vehicle data.

“Here is the only dedicated location company with global reach in the market today,” says a Here representative in a prepared statement. “It has the best map in the world, covering nearly 200 countries and including turn-by-turn navigation for 118 countries.”

Baidu now maintains the only mapping service in China that uses location-based services. It is a feature that has spurred scrutiny from the government on tech firms that are using the technology in their hardware and software.

With a market share of approximately 30 percent for the current quarter, Baidu has a comfortable grip on its spot as the No. 2 search engine in the world. No. 3 Bing holds a roughly 9 percent share this quarter, while top-dog Google claims a massive share of approximately 56 percent. In the U.S., Google’s share of the search engine market is roughly 68 percent.

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