Li Dongmin, manager of Baidu Map, says the mapping service will build itself into a multi-dimensional information and service platform in the next decade to link people with bricks-and-mortar.(Provided to China Daily)
Baidu Map, a desktop and mobile Web mapping service provided by China's online search giant Baidu Inc, aims to become a major auto insurance seller in the country, said a senior executive on Monday.
Li Dongmin, manager of Baidu Map, said in Beijing that the mapping service will become the main channel for car owners to buy auto insurance, with the firm aiming to cover 30 percent of the market in the coming three years.
"User behavior insurance is emerging in China and we know a lot about car owners' driving preferences. What are their average driving speeds? Do drivers hit the brakes very often? All of this driving behavior can be taken into consideration to find out how much they need to pay for auto insurance," he said, adding that the company will team up with professional insurance companies to roll out such products.
Li did not give a specific timetable for launching the user behavior insurance service. But he said Baidu Map, which recently launched a service to sell traditional auto insurance on its mapping application, has witnessed daily sales of about 100,000 yuan ($15,430).
According to the company, Baidu Map has more than 300 million active monthly users and about 100 million car owners use its mapping service. The auto insurance service is only one of the options Baidu Map wants to pursue in the future. The mapping service will build itself into a multi-dimensional information and service platform to link people with bricks-and-mortar services, Li said at the media event, which celebrated the 10th anniversary of Baidu Map.
Baidu Map, which initially only provided map related information, has integrated various services on its application, enabling users to hail taxis, book restaurants and buy movie tickets based on their location.
Zhang Xu, an analyst with Internet consultancy Analysys International, said Baidu Map's transformation is in line with the company's strategy to use online-to-offline business as its new engine for future growth.
In July, Baidu said it would invest 20 billion yuan in O2O services over the next three years.
"As a mapping service application, Baidu Map has great advantages when it comes to providing O2O services. Its location-based service can help users seamlessly find the nearest restaurants to dine out at or the nearest shopping mall to visit," said Zhang.