Destinations Asia

5 China Attractions Are Mapped But Not Very Accessible

Jan 04, 2014 3:00 am

Skift Take

Google would kill for this kind of accessibility. Tencent’s got it, and we can enjoy it.

— Dennis Schaal

Get the Latest Intelligence on the Travel Industry

 / QuartzTencent Maps

Yueyaquan is a crescent shaped lake in the desert of Gansu province in northern China. The 218-meter-long lake holds spring water and was once a stop along the the silk route. / QuartzTencent Maps


Chinese internet company Tencent now boasts the mapping service with the most comprehensive on-the-ground photography in China (akin to Google’s “Street View”).

Like others in the country, it covers major cities as well as second and third-tier urban centers, but unlike them it also contains photographs of remote areas, from a volcanic range in northeastern China to the set of islands in the East China Sea that both China and Japan claim.

These views aren’t functional in the way that having images of a neighborhood or mall can be, allowing people to find things like the nearest store selling their favorite brand. Instead, they help Tencent—whose messaging app WeChat is challenging the likes of WhatsApp and the Chinese microblog platform Sina Weibo—appeal to Chinese internet users via novelty.

With flowery descriptions of its photographed locations, Tencent Maps serves as something of a travelogue for parts of the country that many Chinese won’t have a chance to see. Here are some of those areas.

Disputed islands in the East China Sea

Tencent includes satellite images of the islands at the center of a territorial dispute between China and Japan. Tencent Maps lets the user peruse each of the islets, which China refers to as the Diaoyu islands and Japan as the Senkaku.

diaoyu-islands-tencent-map
Tencent Maps

A desert oasis

Yueyaquan is a crescent shaped lake in the desert of Gansu province in northern China. The 218-meter-long lake holds spring water and was once a stop along the the silk route.

china-desert-tencent

Tencent Maps

A volcanic mountain range

The Greater Khingan mountains, at an elevation of between 1,200 and 1,300 meters, are home to ethnic minorities in northeastern China like the Oroqen.

volcanic-region-tencent

Tencent Maps

The Yarlung River in Tibet

The map service allows users to travel along this river, which originates in western Tibet and flows into India.

yarlung-river-tibet-tencent

Tencent Maps

The base of Mount Everest

In the vein of Google’s recent release of views of four of the world’s highest peaks, Tencent also sent its photographers to the base camp of Mount Everest in Tibet. (Google hasn’t been allowed to bring its Street View operation to China.)

mount-everest-tencent

Gang Yang contributed additional reporting.

This story originally appeared on Quartz, a Skift content partner.

Additional links from Quartz:

Tags: , ,

More on Skift

The Biggest Issues Faced by Elderly Travelers at American Airports
The Booking Habits of Hostel Guests Around the Globe
The Big Growth Opportunity Left for the World’s Biggest Travel Company
How to Find the ‘Holistic Traveler’ Trapped in Your Data

We're the Moneyball of the Travel Industry

We know what's coming next in travel. Subscribe to the newsletter and get all the goodness in your inbox daily.