The online publisher will buy 11.3 per cent stake in NavInfo for 1.17 billion yuan (US$187 million) according to a report on Bloomberg. The mapping company’s shareholder, China Siwei Surveying & Mapping Technology Corp., will transfer 78 million of its shares to Tencent.
This acts as Tencent’s reply to its rival Alibaba buying mobile mapping company AutoNavi Holdings last April, which happens to be NavInfo’s bigger competitors. That deal was mapped at US$1.5 billion and is part of a larger step for Alibaba to be an initial public offering (IPO). According to analysts, both companies are vying for the best location-based services to address both company’s weakness in that area of technology.
It’ll be interesting to see what other companies will both giants buy next to garner the attention of China’s 618 million-or-more online and smart device users.