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Ford seeking WeChat messaging integration for Chinese drivers

Ford is seeking an arrangement with Tencent Holdings - the creators of messaging service WeChat - to feature the service inside Ford cars in China.

Ford already has its Sync dashboard, featuring ways to connect to the internet and use apps. In China, it is missing a few of the major applications, and WeChat is the most obvious one.

The WeChat app for cars would offer voice commands and limited button control, letting the user message friends back without touching their phone.

It is part of an ongoing move by the automotive industry to bring mobile into the car, especially in China where millions of customers are looking for new integration between the two platforms.

"People want to stay connected, stay informed and stay entertained all the time, even when they're driving," according to senior engineer David Huang.

Several automotive companies have approached Tencent Holdings for a deal, including General Motors who launched a new platform for drivers to find nearby dealerships and send car location to friends.

Nissan and Daimler are also working on deals with Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu, Weibo and other Internet companies inside of China. Ford has not shown any desire to work with the other three companies at the present time.

The automotive industry inside of China is slowing down, but is still one of the most active regions in the world. Several vendors including Ford claimed it sold more cars in China than the U.S. in 2014.

David has been a technology journalist for over six years, covering a wide range of sectors. He currently researches apps, app sectors and app markets for Business of Apps, and has written for ITProPortal, RTInsights, ReadWrite, and Digital Trends.