Tencent to invest $187 million into online mapping company NavInfo

Tencent, one of China’s largest Internet companies, will spend 1.17 billion yuan, or $187 million for a 11.3% stake in NavInfo, one of the country’s largest mapping companies. Best known abroad as the maker of WeChat, Tencent’s products in China include a large range of consumer mobile products and NavInfo will help power its location-based services. The deal is notable because Tencent’s rival Alibaba Group, which is prepping for its massive IPO.

 Tencent Holdings Ltd. TCEHY -1.15% is buying its way into online mapping as the Chinese games and social-networking giant continues to use strategic investments to expand the range of services it can provide on smartphones. In a filing with the Shenzhen Stock Exchange on Monday evening, Chinese Internet mapping company NavInfo Co. said Tencent would take about an 11% stake in the company for 1.17 billion yuan ($187.3 million). A Tencent spokesman confirmed details of the planned transaction. The deal comes as China’s largest firms have spent billions to acquire and invest in smaller companies to help them enhance their offerings on smartphones, with the goal of courting the country’s more than 500 million smartphone users.

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