Alibaba has teamed up with Norinco, a Chinese arms manufacturer, to roll out global positioning services using China's homegrown alternative to GPS. The two companies have sunk roughly $310 million into a new joint venture that'll harness Beidou's navigation satellites to provide mapping data to local businesses. It's another big step on the road to the country ending its reliance upon GPS, and comes two years after the service was opened up to heavy-duty transport vehicles and smartphones. It may not affect us outside of Asia-Pacific just yet, but with Beidou set to become available for all global users by 2020, it's worth keeping an eye on how good this new-fangled offering turns out to be.
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