29 Nov 2010 12:07

China extends licensing deadline for online mapping firms

Shanghai. November 29. INTERFAX-CHINA - China's State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping (SBSM) will extend the application deadline for online mapping licenses, state media reported on Nov. 29.

According to the official Beijing News, the new SBSM deadline for online mapping licenses is March 31, 2011.

The SBSM's original deadline for the licenses was December 31, 2010. In September of this year, the bureau approved licenses for 31 companies, including Baidu Inc., Alibaba.com Ltd., Sina Corp, Tencent Inc. and the China arm of Finnish telecommunications giant Nokia Corp..

The SBSM issued Internet mapping and surveying standards in May. Only companies with Internet servers in mainland China are eligible for online mapping licenses, according to previous SBSM announcements.

Ren Yanghui, an analyst with Analysys International, told Interfax that the extension will give foreign companies such as Microsoft Corp. and Google Inc. more time to apply for licenses.

Only a fraction of China's estimated 30,000 online mapping firms will receive licenses, said Ren, noting that smaller firms will act as re-sellers.