China’s love affair with the car and the open road (traffic jams permitting) has only just begun, and so it’s a good time for local web company Sina (NASDAQ:SINA) to launch its new map-oriented, location-based app for Chinese drivers. Called iMap – but with the literal name ‘Love Cars Maps’ in Chinese – it has just launched for Android and there’s an iPhone version coming soon.

The iMap app does five main things, and has social integration in many of those. It can be used for finding gas stations, parking spaces, getting routes and traffic build-up guidance, making crowd-sourced route reports, and it also has a neat parking assistant.

The first two of those features are reminiscent of what Google Places (or is it called Google Local now?) and Baidu Shenbian do already, with listings and reviews of nearby relevant places. The live traffic data is currently only supported in 11 Chinese cities, with others being added in due course.

As for the parking assistant, it’s a useful thingy to help you keep track of where you’ve parked – especially needed in a multi-level car-park – and for how long (pictured bottom).

Since Sina is the creator of China’s hottest social network these days – Sina Weibo – it should be no surprise that Weibo is tied in to the iMap app. It allows users to tweet out their reviews of petrol stations – fascinating! – or anything else you want to say without having to open the Weibo app on your phone.

Get Sina’s iMap app for Android from the third-party AppChina store for free, or just check out more photos below:

[Source: LBSvision - article in Chinese]

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October 1, 2012