China’s Baidu paints New Year travel map from mobiles

This handout released by Chinese social network Baidu - often referred to as "China's Google" - which is updated hourly, on January 28, 2014 shows an interactive map made by logging where data requests were made to its maps service and other apps that use its location technologies, with the thicker and brighter lines illustrating the busiest routes. The chart, tracking the mobile phone data of travellers using Baidu's map service, is a visual representation of the world's largest annual human migration. Hundreds of millions of migrant workers are returning home to their towns and villages before the Lunar New Year, which begins on January 31, 2014, in what is for many their only chance to see their families all year. ©AFP PHOTO / BAIDU

This handout released by Chinese social network Baidu – often referred to as “China’s Google” – which is updated hourly, on January 28, 2014 shows an interactive map made by logging where data requests were made to its maps service and other apps that use its location technologies, with the thicker and brighter lines illustrating the busiest routes. The chart, tracking the mobile phone data of travellers using Baidu’s map service, is a visual representation of the world’s largest annual human migration. Hundreds of millions of migrant workers are returning home to their towns and villages before the Lunar New Year, which begins on January 31, 2014, in what is for many their only chance to see their families all year.
©AFP PHOTO / BAIDU

(BEIJING-AFP) – Pale blue, fibre-optic-like lines linking dots in an outline of China emerging from darkness — technology giant Baidu has launched an astronomical chart-style image of the country’s New Year travels.

The chart, tracking the mobile phone data of travellers using Baidu’s map service, is a visual representation of the world’s largest annual human migration and is available at qianxi.baidu.com.

Hundreds of millions of migrant workers are returning home to their towns and villages before the New Year, which begins on Friday, in what is for many their only chance to see their families all year.

Beijing, Shanghai and the southern metropolis of Guangzhou — the richest cities in China — had the most departures late morning Tuesday, according to the map.

The top three destinations were the Chinese capital, Chongqing in the southwest and Hengyang, a transport hub in central China offering connections to smaller towns.

The number of road trips reached 97.89 million on Monday, making a total of 1.06 billion since January 16, up 5.4 percent from last year, government news portal people.cn said, citing transport ministry figures.

Transport officials predict Chinese passengers will make 3.62 billion trips during the 40-day New Year period, including 3.2 billion trips by road.

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