Alibaba joins China arms maker to of­fer ser­vices

The China Post - - WORLD BUSINESS -

In­ter­net gi­ant Alibaba has joined forces with main­land China’s big­gest de­fense com­pany to of­fer lo­ca­tion-based ser­vices us­ing a home­grown satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem that com­petes with the U.S. GPS net­work, the firms said.

New York-listed Alibaba and China North In­dus­tries Corp. (Nor­inco) have cre­ated a 2.0 bil­lion yuan (US$313 mil­lion) joint ven­ture to of­fer ser­vices us­ing Chi­nese satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem Beidou, Nor­inco said in a state­ment on its web­site.

Each com­pany has a 50 per­cent stake in Shang­hai-based Qianxun Weizhi net­work, which was set up on Tues­day, it said.

Nor­inco, a leader in China’s mil­i­tary trade, is a sprawl­ing sta­te­owned group selling ev­ery­thing from tanks to air de­fense sys­tems. It is the au­tho­rized com­pany for re­search and ap­pli­ca­tions for the Beidou sys­tem, state media said.

Beidou, which be­gan of­fer- ing both com­mer­cial and public ser­vices in late 2012, says on its web­site it has a net­work of 35 satel­lites.

Its ser­vices are cen­tered on the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion but it is sched­uled to pro­vide global cov­er­age by 2020, and it is viewed as a com­peti­tor to the global po­si­tion­ing sys­tem (GPS) de­vel­oped by the United States.

“This sig­ni­fies that China’s own Beidou nav­i­ga­tion satel­lite sys­tem has taken an im­por­tant step and re­vealed a new chap­ter,” Nor­inco said.

Alibaba’s Tmall plat­form is be­lieved to com­mand more than half the Chi­nese mar­ket for busi­nessto-con­sumer trans­ac­tions and its Taobao plat­form holds more than 90 per­cent of the con­sumer-to­con­sumer mar­ket in China.

Lo­ca­tion- based ser­vices can en­able com­pa­nies to of­fer prod­ucts or ap­pli­ca­tions to peo­ple at tar­geted places through mo­bile de­vices, and Alibaba said the ven- ture would al­low it to im­prove its of­fer­ings.

“Lo­ca­tion- based ser­vices are an im­por­tant part of the In­ter­net in­fra­struc­ture,” an Alibaba spokes­woman said in a state­ment pro­vided to AFP on Thurs­day.

“We hope to be able to pro­vide busi­nesses and de­vel­op­ers with bet­ter lo­ca­tion-based ser­vices.”

AP

In this Sept. 18, 2014 file photo, peo­ple walk past an advertising bill­board show­ing the mo­bile app of Alibaba’s Taobao con­sumer-to-con­sumer site at a sub­way sta­tion in Bei­jing.

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