Ford wants Tencent to bring the developer's hugely popular chat app WeChat to the company's cars in China.

WeChat is the country's most prevalent chatting app and has around half a billion active users every month. The move will give drivers in China, the country with the most number of mobile phone users, a safe and hands-free mobile apps access.

According to David Huang, a senior engineer who is involved in the carmaker's Asia-Pacific connected services, there's a demand from customers to remain connected, informed and entertained even when they are behind the wheel.

Other technology industry giants such as Google and Apple are also joining the car-focused battleground where companies continuously strive to develop a futuristic market made up of drivers who are online even while they are on the road.

In this sense, China could be the strongest contender as the country's first-time car owners are also early adopters since they have a more profound understanding of technology than of engine specifications.

One of the things that automakers can do to gain a large market share in China is to make sure that their cars' technology includes apps that are convenient, safe and absolutely legal to use when one is driving. Yale Zhang, managing director of the consultancy firm Automotive Foresight in Shanghai, said that customers in China always consider connectivity an important factor in buying a car.

"Those kinds of things are the fundamental things people will consider," advised Zhang.

In China, people like to use WeChat's free voice messaging feature more than making phone calls. They would normally hold up their smartphones similar to holding a walkie-talkie whenever they speak and as they listen to the person's reply on the other end of the line.

Ford's team-up with Tencent's WeChat could give the company a much-desired edge over rivals Google and Apple, both of which are also targeting cars.

Apart from Ford, other companies such as Daimler and Nissan are also looking to Tencent in a quest to increase their customer's appeal in China.

"The race is on, very clearly," said Hubertus Troska, chairman and CEO of Daimler China.

Mao Yanan, a resident of Beijing, admits that she normally holds her phone when she wants to use the app while being on the road.

"In a car, if you had software that can sync with your WeChat, that would be very useful," said Yanan.

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