GIC, Tencent, NavInfo to invest in HERE, develop location services for China market

GIC will be part of a consortium planning to acquire 10 per cent stake in open location platform company HERE.
GIC will be part of a consortium planning to acquire 10 per cent stake in open location platform company HERE.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE - Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC will be part of a consortium planning to acquire 10 per cent stake in open location platform company HERE.

China's digital maps and location services provider NavInfo and internet giant Tencent will be part of the consortium. The planned transaction would result in Audi, BMW and Daimler reducing their indirect shareholding in HERE in equal measure, a release issued on Tuesday (Dec 27) stated.

"As a long-term value investor, we are confident HERE is well-positioned to extend its success in automotive space to areas of Internet of Things, smart cities and fleet management," said GIC private equity chief investment officer Choo Yong Cheen.

NavInfo, Tencent and HERE will also form a strategic partnership to develop and offer best location services in the Chinese market. They intend to form a joint 50-50 joint venture in China enabling location services for Chinese and global customers across a range of industries.

HERE, a provider of maps and location services in almost 200 countries would extend its services to China making use of a wide range of NavInfo data and services.

HERE and NavInfo also intend to extend the range of HERE Internet of Things solutions such as fleet management, on demand services and asset tracking to the Chinese market based on a platform operated by the joint venture, the release added.

The plans are subject to regulatory approvals by the Chinese authorities.

"Our intention has been to broaden our shareholder base to reflect how location intelligence will fuel invention and expansion across different industries in all parts of the world," HERE chief executive officer Edzard Overbeek said. "We are therefore excited to welcome NavInfo and Tencent both as strategic investors who share our vision of the future. We also welcome GIC as a financial investor who values the long-term prospects of the company."

As part of the plan, HERE and NavInfo will deploy and localise a flexible and modular software development toolkit for embedded in-car experiences, as well as collaborate on creation and provisioning of high definition mapping and location services.

HERE and Tencent will work together to improve both companies' products to deliver better experiences to their customers.

"The automotive industry is on the eve of revolution to autonomous driving and alternative energy. We are excited about joining forces and uniting market leaders to deliver outstanding value and take our industry to the next level," said NavInfo chief executive Patrick Cheng.