30 Chinese Cities Will Have Tom Tom Traffic Service image

TomTom, the Dutch navigation equipment and digital map maker, and Chinese digital map firm AutoNavi Holdings Ltd, plan to create a service which will provide real-time traffic information for the Chinese drivers who have to face huge traffic problems.

The service will be called HD Traffic, and it will cover about 30 of the biggest Chinese cities until the end of 2013. Over the last months, the Dutch company struggled to overcome slumping demand in personal navigation devices, since many consumers chose to use free or cheaper navigation software and cooler gadgets (smartphones and tablet computers). The company even tried to do deals with car manufactures, and to convince them to build the navigation units into car dashboards.

China, who overtook U.S. in 2009 becoming the world’s largest auto market, had to face the challenges offered by the rapid growth of car ownership and traffic nightmares. Beijing alone is expected to have 7 million cars on the road by the end of 2012.

“This agreement is an important step in enabling drivers to save time and money when finding their way to destinations on the increasingly congested Chinese roads,” said Ralf-Peter Schäfer, Head of TomTom Traffic Product Unit, in a statement.