Honda and Alibaba are teaming up to work on connected car services, becoming the latest big companies to leap aboard the smart vehicle technology bandwagon.
Alibaba will get the opportunity to put its Autonavi mapping services into the Japanese carmaker’s future vehicles, with customers also being able to make online payments via the Chinese tat bazaar’s Alipay platform.
Neither company would comment to Alibaba-owned South China Morning Post, which cited Japanese business newspaper Nikkei.
Honda and Autonavi have been working together since 2015 on in-car mapping services, according to the Nikkei. The mapping company was bought out by Alibaba in the previous year for $1.5bn.
In-car infotainment services are very much the up-and-coming battleground for web and technology companies wanting a slice of a new and potentially lucrative market. In the middle of last year Mazda and Toyota announced that they were working on a Linux-based connected car navigation and entertainment system.
Although Alibaba has reportedly been interested in connected cars within China since 2016, the Honda deal marks the first occasion on which the company’s vehicular ambitions have moved outside the Middle Kingdom. Japan’s third biggest automaker (by volume) is a significant partner and could help spread Alibaba’s offerings further into new markets abroad. ®