According to BMW China’s Research and Development chief, BMW AG is planning to incorporate the WeChat messaging app from Tencent Holdings in its vehicles in China and wants to do this in a manner that would not necessitate the Internet giant to make any changes to its software.
As the auto competition has lately moved to technology add-ons inside of the cars to be sold, auto executives state that more and more customers are interested to have the app in their vehicles. With around half a billion active users every month, WeChat does not come pre-installed in cars in China at the moment. Ford Motor Co has also said it is discussing with those from Tencent Holdings Ltd to make some adjustments to WeChat so that it can be used in its cars.
However, BMW wants to develop a way that would exclude the need for Tencent to make any tweaks to the app as the Chinese company seems to not be so receptive, as Rene Wies, who is overseeing BMW China’s R&D centre said for Reuters – “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 in the car industry is not on their focus.”
With no word from Tencent spokesman yet, Wies said that BMW plans to have the app controlled by voice commands and that it would probably take the brand a year before introducing it in its cars, a time period which would be cut into half if Tencent were more open to adjustments to the app to make it suitable for use inside of cars.
By Gabriela Florea