Chinese Search company, Baidu has invested USD 10 million in a Finnish startup, IndoorAtlas that develops indoor mapping technology to track real-time movement indoors, reports TechInAsia. The company will use the funds for research and development, as well as for engineering and business development in the U.S., Asia, and Europe and to bring its mapping technology to the Chinese market.
In a statement, Janne Haverinen, Founder and CEO of IndoorAtlas said that, “With this partnership, we now have access to over 1.34 billion potential subscribers at one go, We see this as a huge opportunity not just to make a mark in Asia, but globally, and to make indoor location services ubiquitous and available to everyone.”
Both companies have also signed an agreement which will make Baidu the only user of IndoorAtlas’ technology in China. TechCrunch reports – Baidu will be able to integrate IndoorAtlas’ tech into its existing location-based services and mapping products, said Baidu vice president Liu Jun. “IndoorAtlas’ intellectual property portfolio and global geographical coverage will be instrumental in helping us at Baidu build out our LBS platform for local merchants in China and abroad.”
Baidu is expected to show an IndoorAtlas product customized for its Baidu Maps app at the Baidu World conference held on September 3 in Beijing. Earlier this year, it released a heat map showing the destinations for travelers and its mobile app currently has more than 70 million daily active users. Last week, Baidu had made partnership with Tencent, and Wanda to form a USD 814 million venture to bring mobile in-store payments into the latter firm’s theme parks and movie theaters.
Launched in 2012, IndoorAtlas enables users to create location-specific “magnetic fingerprints” by using a smartphone’s built-in magnetometer for indoor spaces. The smartphone users which use IndoorAtlas’ API to open apps can determine their own location within the space better then GPS or Bluetooth-based technology.
The other investments also included in this space made by the Chinese internet companies such as Alibaba’s USD1.5 billion purchase of AutoNavi in April and Tencent’s purchase of a 11.3 percent stake in mapping company NavInfo for USD187 million in May.