After becoming faster and safer, cars are now becoming increasingly technologically advanced. With built-in GPS and Bluetooth, car companies are looking for the next big idea.
In China, BMW has decided to offer a popular messaging services app into its cars in a way that would require the least bit of changes in software.
WeChat messaging is a popular product by Tencent. With about half a billion active monthly users, the app has even more potential growth because of this partnership with BMW China.
However, things are not going all too well. “Tencent is currently not as open as one would maybe expect, and they are in a competitive environment trying to bring new features so making any changes to the software for the car industry is not on their focus,” says Ren Weis, leader of BMW China’s R&D department.
According the sources from BMW China, it will take up to a year before the voice-controlled app will be seen in cars. With Tencent’s cooperation, it would only take half a year.
Witnessing the popularity of this decision, Ford Motor Co. is now looking into ways to incorporate a tailored and specialized version of Wechat in its automobiles. Other car companies, from General Motors Co. to Nissan are also clamoring for Tencent’s attention. Mercedez Benz has started looking into competitor Alibaba for apps and other software.