Baidu Maps announced its international strategy on Tuesday at a press conference in Beijing. So far, the mapping service covers 18 countries and regions and Baidu plans to increase this number to over 150 by the end of 2016. Additionally, Baidu Maps aims to increase its ratio of overseas users to 50% by 2020.
The international version of Baidu Maps was launched in 2014 in Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan. In two years, it has also covered the following countries and regions: Japan, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Maldives, the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, Australia, and New Zealand.
“The international version of Baidu Maps is a milestone for Baidu’s internationalization strategy,” said Zhang Yaqin, the president of Baidu. “With the groundwork laid, Baidu will not only connect people using information, but also link people with services on a global scale.”
With 500 million users and 70% of the market share in China, Baidu Maps is currently focusing on Chinese outbound travelers. According to China’s National Tourism Administration, the number of 120 million outbound trips in 2015 will increase in 2016.
With its sights on the global market, Baidu Maps also works with different partners including the banking company China UnionPay and the Japanese PR and marketing company Dentsu. By working with Uber, Baidu Maps will allow overseas users to hail a car with a Chinese-speaking driver.
Other than satisfying Chinese outbound travelers’ needs, Baidu Maps will adapt to different languages by using Baidu’s Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) technology, which supports multilingual searching. In addition, Baidu Maps will further improve its positioning technology via user contributions and develop route-planning services worldwide.
In the past year, Baidu Maps has introduced other services which include hotel-booking, car-hailing, food delivery, group buying and insurance.
(Top photo from Baidu)