Our Bureau
04:01 PM, August 20, 2015
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E-commerce firm Alibaba and Chinese defense manufacturer China North Industries Corp. (Norinco) will offer Geo-location services to compete with the US GPS network.

Alibaba and China North Industries Corp. (Norinco) have created a CNY 2 billion (US $313 million) joint venture to offer services using Chinese satellite navigation system Beidou, Norinco said in a statement Today. Each company has a 50 percent stake in Shanghai-based Qianxun Weizhi network, which was set up on Tuesday, it said.

Beidou, which began offering both commercial and public services in late 2012, says on its website it has a network of 35 satellites. Its services are centered on the Asia-Pacific region but it is scheduled to provide global coverage by 2020, and it is viewed as a competitor to the global positioning system (GPS) developed by the United States.

"This signifies that China's own Beidou navigation satellite system has taken an important step and revealed a new chapter," Norinco said.

Location-based services can enable companies to offer products or applications to people at targeted places through mobile devices, and Alibaba said the venture would allow it to improve its offerings.

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