Micorosft Virtual Earth recently launched a Chinese-language Live Search Map services through the MSN’s China website. Obviously focused on Chinese customers the map service covers the data of 114 Chinese cities and its early edition puts emphasis on public transportation routes in these cities. This is one more reason the Chinese people have to go online.
Virtual Earth, which Microsoft has spend more than US$100 million developing, has become the fastest growing map search services in the US market. Tao Chuang, a senior manager of Microsoft in charge of local searches and the Virtual Earth development team, stated that the success of the local search, including any map searches, undoubtedly depends upon the content localization, R&D localization and close cooperation with local partners.
There are several map services already available in China.
According to a report released by a Chinese Internet economy research center, China’s market of map search services will reach 500 million yuan in 2008 and hit 1.5 billion yuan in 2010.