Baidu expands to tap into China’s growing travel boom.
Baidu’s map service is China’s most popular mobile navigation app, with 348 million active users. Now, the company is significantly expanding the reach of its maps to 106 new countries. The expansion is part of an attempt to cater to China’s recent travel boom. Until now, Baidu maps has provided basic information on locations across the globe, but the new effort will see the introduction of more detailed and accurate information, alongside new “points of interest.” By working with national tourism bureaus, information like opening hours for various attractions will be added.
The new additions will double the reach of Baidu’s mapping app, which claims 70% of the Chinese market to also include 209 “countries and regions” across Asia, Africa, and North and South America. In recent years, more and more Chinese tourists have been travelling abroad. A recent report co-authored by Visa shows that Chinese tourists spent $137 billion abroad last year, and is set to increase by almost 90% in the coming decade. That would place China’s tourism spending at more than double that of the US, and more than the UK, Germany and Russia combined.
Baidu’s 3D maps are like a screenshot from Cities Skylines
It isn’t surprising then, that tourism bureaus are keen to work with Baidu. In exchange for providing the company with more detailed information for travelers, Baidu will help foreign tourist agencies with information to “plan promotional activities for Chinese travelers during local festivals and travel peak seasons.”