Alibaba Group ranked fifth in Fortune magazine’s Change the World 2018 list for the philanthropy work done through its subsidiary mapping service that literally drove money into rural China.
AutoNavi, or Amap, launched a “poverty alleviation map” feature in Henan province this year. It is designed to entice day-trippers to head to remote countryside towns. It flags what facilities are available to help local restaurants, gas stations, and shops draw customers and develop an online presence.
Alibaba Group acquired AutoNavi Software Co. Ltd. in 2014 at the price of $1.5 billion.
In 2017, Alibaba Group announced a 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) anti-poverty fund, personally overseen by its co-founder and executive chairman Jack Ma, to help the country’s poor over the next five years. In January 2018, AutoNavi joined forces with China’s National Tourism Administration to build a data-driven tourism grid aimed to make navigation easier for travelers.
The poverty alleviation map currently covers about 2,000 attractions in 53 counties in the province of Henan in central China, based on information pulled from AutoNavi’s geographical database and local tourism authorities. There are also plans to expand it across the country.
AutoNavi has been providing mapping data to Google since 2006. The mapping service announced in July this year that its ride-hailing service Gaode Jiaoche has gone online to collect additional data.
Alibaba and AutoNavi have jointly launched their City Brain platform which leverages AutoNavi’s abundant transport data and Alibaba Cloud’s cloud computing technologies to improve public transportation systems.