Travel With Alibaba’s Amap From Startup To Navigation Platform

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Travel With Alibaba’s Amap From Startup To Navigation Platform

  • Amap topped 280 million peak daily active users during the 2023 Mid-Autumn Festival
  • Logistics service Cainiao, payments provider AliPay and other mobile apps use the navigation platform

Amap users can leverage the platform's high-tech navigation tools in China and abroad. Photo credit: Alibaba Group

If you need to get from A to B in China, Amap will probably help you find your way.

Amap appears on your cell phone and in on your car’s dashboard. It helps you avoid a traffic jam, find a charging station for your electric car and book a table at the local restaurant.

Like Google Maps, Amap is a navigation tool based on a mobile digital map and real-time traffic information in China. Other mobile apps plug into Amap across industries, including local services, ride-hailing and social networking, which end users can access directly through Amap’s open platform.

Within the Alibaba Group ecosystem, Amap is used by logistics player Cainiao and payment platform Alipay. Amap users can make table reservations on Koubei or order food with Likewise, users book rides during the holidays, view Fliggy’s travel recommendations, find hotels and book tickets on the app.

How did Amap get where it is today? Explore its journey below:

October, 2023

New heights

During an eight-day holiday period combining the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holiday, Amap records an all-time high of over 280 million peak daily active users.

The usership growth helps propel revenue from the Local Services Group to hit RMB15.6 billion ($2.1 billion) in the September quarter, a 16% year-on-year increase, according to the Alibaba Group earnings report.

September, 2023

Upgrade time

Amap upgrades to version 13, which includes innovative features to provide detailed travel decision-making references and convenient navigation services.
Amap also launches its “World Map” product, allowing users to plan routes and access navigation services abroad. Additionally, users can illuminate the countries and cities they pass through based on their trip location records.

May, 2023

Enabling explorers

During China’s Labor Day holiday, Amap hit over 200 million peak daily active users, higher than during previous Labor Day holidays as Chinese consumers’ wanderlust recovered.

April, 2023

Up around the bend

Amap releases a mobile-end feature which provides curve meeting warnings.

It automatically activates when users navigate through complex curved road sections, providing information about oncoming vehicles through voice prompts and dynamic 3D imagery. It helps users anticipate blind spots ahead, reducing potential safety hazards during driving.

June quarter, 2023

Green means go

Amap releases new features, such as telling a driver how many seconds until a traffic light turns green.

March, 2023

Average daily use reaches new heights

The number of average daily active users of Amap hits 150 million, driven by rising intra-city commuting and inter-city travel.

March, 2023

Extra hot, no whip

Amap teamed up with Starbucks to offer a curbside coffee pickup service along their route.

October, 2022

Over 220 million DAU

On the first day of the week-long National Day holiday in China, Amap records over 220 million daily active users.

September, 2022

Class is in session

Amap rolls out an upgrade with AI-powered city mapping features that transport users into another dimension.

It integrates real-time visual information, such as weather and traffic, into its 3D viewing mode. A digital creation named Xiao Gao Lao Shi – or Teacher Gao – is included with the latest Amap upgrade. The human lookalike accompanies users through the 3D cities and transforms the map-reading process into a conversation.

October, 2021

Stay in your lane

Amap’s lane-level navigation launches. This product accurately identifies the specific lane where the user is driving during the navigation process, in order to provide more detailed guidance.

October, 2021

Helping holidaymakers

During China’s Golden Week holiday, daily active users on the app and on its platform built into cars surpass 200 million.

July, 2021

Part of the family

Amap joins the newly-created Lifestyle Services division at Alibaba, led by Yu Yongfu. Amap President Liu Zhenfei reports directly to Yu. The division becomes the Local Services Group in 2023 as part of Alibaba’s restructuring.

April, 2021

Crossing 100 million

Amap’s average daily active users tops 100 million.

September, 2020

From A to B, sustainably

Amap unveils a green travel incentive mechanism to encourage users to choose public transportation, cycling, walking, and other environmentally friendly modes of transportation. It calculates the corresponding carbon emissions reduction and rewards users with discounts and other benefits.


Record-breaking performance

Amap becomes the first Chinese mapping service to navigate a path to 100 million daily users.

July, 2017

Catch a cab

Amap launches its ride-hailing service.


Going private

Alibaba takes AutoNavi private in $1.58 billion deal. AutoNavi is subsequently renamed Amap. 

May, 2013

Alibaba buys stake

Alibaba acquires a 28% stake in AutoNavi for $294 million, becoming the startup’s largest shareholder.

June, 2012

Working with Apple

AutoNavi starts providing map and navigation services for the Chinese market to Apple Inc.

July, 2010

Going public

AutoNavi lists on Nasdaq at $12.50 per ADS raising over $100 million.


Welcome to China

AutoNavi’s very first independently developed in-car pre-installed navigation software enters the Chinese market.

October, 2006

Finding funding

AutoNavi issues 40 million Series A convertible preferred shares, or Series A preferred shares, to a group of private equity investors.


AutoNavi earns mapping certification

AutoNavi obtains a Class A surveying and mapping qualification certificate issued by the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping. It begins providing digital map data to a major automobile manufacturer in China.

April, 2002

AutoNavi is born

AutoNavi is co-founded by Jun Hou, Congwu Cheng and Jun Xiao to develop digital map data for in-dash navigation systems in automobiles.  

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