Volkswagen subsidiary Audi has agreed to strengthen its partnership with Chinese internet giant Alibaba to improve its in car applications to help it meet the requirements of the Chinese domestic market, according to local reports.

The premium brand confirmed it would step up its collaboration with Alibaba to improve its on board navigation and digital assistant services as the automaker looks to strengthen its edge in a market increasingly focused on connected services.

China is Audi's largest single market with deliveries exceeding 690,000 vehicles last year – or 37% of its global sales. Its sales increased by 5.4% to 580,080 units in the country in the first 10 months of 2020. 

Audi China president Werner Eichhorn said in a statement "this strong alliance will surely enable Audi to better serve our Chinese customers. It is further proof of our 'In China, For China' commitment". 

The two companies have worked together since 2006 when Alibaba's navigation subsidiary NavInfo first agreed to make available its navigation platform and provide additional R&D support.

The new agreement will allow Audi to add Alibaba's next generation navigation technology and its Tmall Genie in car digital assistant service to its in house connected platform.

NavInfo president Liu Zhenfei said "since we all face a future with intelligent driving, we will provide our full capabilities to Audi for the first time, including our next generation navigation technology and most importantly our high definition map".

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