Dianping.com, China’s top review site, has announced a new developer API to encourage partners, including Autonavi, GM and Garmin, to build applications using its data. The company has also revealed that it is planning to add merchant bookings and an electronic membership card system to its list of products, Sina Tech reports.
Often compared to Yelp, Dianping has built itself up as the go-to platform in China for customer reviews since it was established in 2003. In the fourth quarter of 2012, it had 1.4 billion monthly page views across the Web and mobile devices, with the majority of views came from its 54 million mobile users.
The company has put together a marquee list of launch partners for its API, including Autonavi, Yinxiang Biji (Evernote’s Chinese service), Shengda, General Motors and Garmin. Sina Tech noted, however, that Dianping’s requirements for its open platform are fairly strict, as it does not allow partners to store data and requires caches to be deleted within 24 hours.
GPS and mapping services would be of particular use of the system, as they could allow for intelligent recommendations from within their respective navigation interfaces. Opening up its data could also lead to more interesting reports, like the one from last year that found iPhone users to be more “elegant and romantic” than their Android counterparts.
Looking ahead, a Dianping booking system could be similar implementation to Open Table that allows users to quickly book venues. An electronic membership card could also help improve the stickiness of the platform with a rewards system. Dianping is already much more than a review site, as it also has a mobile check-in feature, group buys and digital coupons.
Last August, Dianping announced a $60 million funding round from investors including Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Trust Bridge Partners. It had previously raised $100 million in an earlier round.
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