Skoda Turns to Alibaba Smart System to Attract Younger Chinese Consumers
Yu Liyan
/SOURCE : yicai
Skoda Turns to Alibaba Smart System to Attract Younger Chinese Consumers

(Yicai  Global) March 13 -- Skoda will roll out a new smart system developed in  conjunction with a unit of tech giant Alibaba Group Holding on its  models in China as part of efforts to appeal to younger drivers.

SAIC  Volkswagen Automotive will gradually equip the system called Banma,  meaning zebra in Chinese, on Skoda models after signing a deal with  developer Banma Network Technologies yesterday, Yicai Global learned. 

The  system allows for real-time, online and connected ecological services,  such as intelligent online voice navigation and information  entertainment, Banma Chief Executive Officer Hao Fei told Yicai Global,  adding that it will continuously provide upgrades.

As  an open platform, Banma is open to more cooperation in the future, he  said, adding that its use is not just limited to Alibaba's partners from  the carmaking industry. 

Skoda  needs to improve how it caters to the younger generation in China's  auto market, Michael Arndt, executive marketing director at SAIC  Volkswagen's Skoda unit, told Yicai Global. The move is also an effort  to keep up with the trend of smart and internet-connected vehicles, he  said, adding that models including the Octavia, Karoq and Superb will  also use the system. 

The  Octavia will be the first model to equip Banma, which includes a  nine-inch screen as part of the first round of cooperation. The system  supports AutoNavi's Amap, iFlytek, Alipay as well as built-in  fourth-generation wireless network hotspot tech. Users can use the basic  traffic data package without fees, while the developer will also offer a  certain amount of additional traffic data without charges. 

Skoda's Octavia model has achieved total sales of 1.3 million to date in China. 

Editor: William Clegg

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Keywords: Smart Vehicle , AI , Banma , Skoda , Volkswagen , SAIC Motor , Alibaba