Status of telematics in China

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30 September 2013
Wenli Yuan
Currently in China there are some telematics service providers in the market that have the technological means to collect vehicle data and are able to provide vehicle owners with rescue assistance services, remote diagnostics and proactive maintenance reminders, fuel management, one-key navigation, and other services. Vehicle telematics involve a number of aspects: Device providers: This includes the telematics service systems and terminals installed in vehicles by automobile manufacturers during the time of manufacture and the terminal devices installed by service providers after the manufacture of the vehicles. The functions of the devices include audio/video surveillance, navigation, traffic awareness, vehicle awareness, etc.
  • Automobile manufacturers (pre-installation market). Such examples include General Motor's OnStar, Toyota’s G-Book, Nissan's CarWings navigation system, SAIC Roewe’s InKaNet, FAW Pentium’s D-Partner, Chang’an Auto’s InCall, and Geely’s G-NetLink.
  • Post-installation device providers. Post-installation devices are generally provided by the service provider. The functions of such devices mainly include audio/video surveillance and navigation. Functions such as traffic awareness and vehicle awareness are generally poorer.
Content providers: provide texts, images, audios, videos, or multimedia information. The content services in China focus primarily on digital navigation maps. Network providers: Telecommunication operators provide the channels for information transmission between vehicle terminals and content providers and service providers. Service providers: form the core of the vehicle telematics industry chain. The current services provided by service providers are primarily focused on navigation and positioning, remote anti-theft alarm and electronic payment services. There will be a greater demand for services such as security, remote vehicle diagnostics, and real time traffic information in the future. Service providers are mainly the following types of enterprises:
  • Telecommunication operators, such as China Mobile’s "iCarBao" and "Travel Worry-free" platforms.
  • Automobile manufacturers, such as GM's OnStar.
  • Navigation platform operators provide services such as GPS navigation. For instance, MapGoo.
  • Service providers of third party telematics application platforms. Examples are Shenzhen Chainway Intelligent Transport System company, Beijing 95190 Information Technology company, Beijing Changlian Wanfang Technology company, Ka Beisi vehicle support service center, etc.
At present, telematics service providers mainly provide services such as logistics management, dispatch management, security of special vehicles, traffic surveillance, and the telematics platform for operational vehicles jointly operated by the competent departments of various industries to commercial vehicle operators and government departments. Telematics service providers have not found value-obvious selling points and a suitable profit model, the number of users in personal telematics is limited. The insurance industry has not yet entered the vehicle telematics value chain. There are certain preconditions that are necessary for the development of insurance telematics in China.
  • Compliance with regulatory requirements. Gradual liberalization of motor insurance terms and rates by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission will likely bring about the development and progress of telematics insurance products in China over the next three to five years.
  • Needs of insurers. The intense competitive environment and business losses have resulted in the need for insurers to develop market segments, seek high quality customers, and control the risks from claims.
  • Telematics development. Telematics insurance products can become an important application of telematics. On one hand, they can promote the development of telematics, and on the other hand, telematics will facilitate the launch of telematics insurance products. Therefore, their relationship is mutually reinforcing.
If the right business model and balance of interests could be found, telematics service providers and insurers could achieve mutual benefit. For more information, please read Celent report Telematics Opportunities in China’s Insurance Market.


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