BEIJING, May 10, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- AutoNavi Holdings Limited ("AutoNavi" or the "Company") (Nasdaq:AMAP), a leading provider of digital map content and navigation and location-based solutions in China, today announced that the Company and several entities affiliated with Alibaba Group ("Alibaba") have agreed to form a strategic alliance to jointly explore and develop location-based e-commerce opportunities. The parties plan to share certain data, including AutoNavi's map data and location-related information of the merchants on Alibaba's e-commerce platforms, including Taobao Marketplace and Tmall.com. AutoNavi and Alibaba will also cooperate in the areas of map engine, location search, navigation and cloud computing services and will cross-promote their respective products and services, with a goal of developing new location-based business models. In addition, AutoNavi announced that the parties have entered into definitive agreements whereby Alibaba, through a wholly owned subsidiary, will invest approximately $294 million in newly issued preferred and ordinary shares of the Company, representing approximately 28% of the Company's total issued and outstanding shares on a fully-diluted basis. Joseph C. Tsai, executive vice chairman of Alibaba, and Eddie Wu, president of Alibaba's mobile products division, will join AutoNavi's board of directors upon the closing of the transaction. The transaction is expected to close in the near future, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions. "We are excited to have Alibaba as an important business partner and strategic investor in our company," said Congwu Cheng, AutoNavi's chief executive officer. "Our new alliance with Alibaba highlights the importance of map applications as a key entry point for mobile services in the age of smartphones. With Alibaba's support, AutoNavi will be able to establish a massive platform of points of interest ("POIs") related to the kinds of services our users seek every day. The alliance will also enable us to create an innovative monetization model by providing consumers with a one-stop service application that integrates merchant information with POIs search, data mining, payment, and other e-commerce activities." "This new alliance reflects our vision for the future of the mobile Internet," said Jack Ma, executive chairman of Alibaba. "We're pleased to work with partners such as AutoNavi to develop terrific applications and services that bring more convenience, fun, and joy to our users. We'll continue to work toward this goal with tireless enthusiasm."