Baidu is investing about $10 million in IndoorAtlas to expand mapping services inside buildings and shopping centers as it steps up competition to e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., according to a person familiar with the matter. The investment by China’s largest Web-search service values IndoorAtlas, which was founded in 2012 as a spinoff from the University of Oulu, Finland, at about $40 million to $50 million, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the investment isn’t public.
Finnish startup IndoorAtlas, which develops indoor mapping technology that uses magnetic positioning, has received a $10 million investment from Baidu, China’s top search company. The two companies also announced that they have signed an agreement which will make Baidu the only user of IndoorAtlas’ technology in China. IndoorAtlas will used the capital for research and development, as well as engineering and business development in the U.S., Asia, and Europe. The company’s technology uses the earth’s geomagnetic field to find locations inside a building and says it can achieve accuracy within two meters. In a statement, IndoorAtlas founder and CEO Janne Haverinen said that the partnership with Baidu gives the company access to over 1.34 billion new subscribers.