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Apple Said to Pick AutoNavi to Offer IPhone Maps in China

Apple Shares Google China Map Partner in Win for AutoNavi
After using Google Maps on the iPhone and iPad for years, Apple in June introduced its own mapping service for the next version of the software running its mobile devices. Photographer: Nelson Ching/Bloomberg

AutoNavi Holdings Ltd., a Chinese maker of electronic navigation tools, was chosen by Apple Inc. to offer map services for users of future iPhones and iPads in China, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

AutoNavi will supply its maps of China to users of the iOS 6 operating system, an upgrade for iPhones and iPads that will be released by Apple this fall, according to one of the people, who asked not to be named before an announcement.

In June, Apple introduced its own maps tool for users of iOS 6, replacing a service currently offered by Google Inc. The iPhone maker is adding technology partners in China including AutoNavi, Baidu Inc. and Sina Corp. to expand the range of services to Chinese consumers and meet rising local demand for its mobile devices.

Helen Zhu, a spokeswoman at AutoNavi in Beijing, declined to comment on the company’s business with Apple. Carolyn Wu, a spokeswoman at Apple in Beijing, declined to comment on future products by the company.

AutoNavi, based in Beijing, accounted for 45 percent of China’s mobile map market in the first quarter, compared with 43 percent for second-ranked NavInfo Co., according to data from research company Analysys International.

AutoNavi fell 0.5 percent to $13.27 in New York trading on July 3. The Chinese company’s stock has gained 32 percent this year, outperforming the Shenzhen-traded shares of NavInfo.

In 2010, AutoNavi agreed to set up a joint venture with TomTom NV in China. TomTom, based in Amsterdam, last month said it signed a licensing agreement with Apple on mapping data.

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