China's Tencent Launches WeChat App for Drivers
【Summary】As tech giants Google and Apple are beginning to move into the automotive space to keep drivers connected with Android Auto and Apple's CarPlay, China’s Tencent is following suit.
As tech giants Google and Apple are beginning to move into the automotive space to keep drivers connected with embedded versions of Android Auto and Apple's CarPlay, China's Tencent is following suit.
At the annual Smart China Expo in Chongqing on Monday, Tencent unveiled a version of its popular social media app WeChat specifically made for drivers. The WeChat messenger platform will be embedded in new car models from state-backed Chinese carmaker Chang'an Automobile Group, coming to the market later this year.
WeChat is the most popular messenger platform in China with more than 1.1 billion users.
The WeChat mobile app offers services such as mobile payments, music and movie streaming. The in-car version will have fewer functions that will be based on voice control, so its less distracting while driving. Drivers will have a button on the steering wheel to send or receive messages and make calls while driving, and integrate Tencent Map's navigation service, Tencent said.
The Shenzhen-based company is also establishing a joint venture with Changan Automobile to develop a connected car system, which will be open to other carmakers, Tencent chief executive Pony Ma Huateng announced at the expo in a separate statement.
Tencent, said in a statement to Reuters it had secured partnership agreements with 21 automakers including BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi to roll out solutions for connected cars on 45 models.
China's state-run news agency Xinhua said on Monday 530 deals worth 817 billion yuan ($115.2 billion) had been signed at the Smart China Expo.
Earlier this year, Google announced it struck a deal with automakers Volvo and Audi Google to embed Android Auto in new models beginning in 2020. Since it's being embedded in the vehicles infotainment system during production, drivers can use Google Apps such as Google Maps and Google Play in the car without having to sync their smartphones.
resource from: Reuters
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