An one stop article to hopefully answer all your questions regarding Chinese national mapping regulations and why services like Google maps and Bing maps left the region. From someone lives in China.
It would be difficult for Asobo / Microsoft to utilize Bing map for updating China’s satellite data, Bing map stopped updating in many regions and areas in China since a few years ago. Those cities and regions has seen a huge infrastructure and urbanization development in the recent years, many airports and area has changed significantly.
Legal issues could be one reason, such as the case with google and other companies’ map services. The growing fiercer competition between international tech giants and China’s local map services was the bigger reason at the time. The amount of work and street data, localization and photogrammetry data needed to be collected was not an easy task even for Google and Bing maps. Over a decade ago they pretty much had to start from ground zero, the infrastructure development speed was unseen. Thousands of new roads, bridges and tunnels are finished day by day, when I was living in China during those years nobody wanted to use Google maps or Bing maps simply because they failed to keep up with the new roads, shop information and etc. Later when Chinese local map services started offering much better services and features that was even ahead of the Google maps and Bing maps services in home regions like the US, they stopped further investment and left the market.
When I was living in China a few years earlier. Newer map technologies like 3D maps, interior maps, the amount of integrated features and 3rd party services, quality of Navigation and the speed of implementing new map data, pretty much was all better and even ahead of what I had in the US with Google maps and other services at the time. They probably already have much better map services than us right now, tech company competition could be very fierce in some eastern Asian countries, you will see that when you go there, it’s amazing.
Photogrammetry was tried and failed many times by companies in China, thousands buildings in the urban areas has been demolished and rebuilt in the past decade on a daily basis, infrastructure saw an huge overhaul that’s unprecedented in history anywhere. Photogrammetry wasn’t very appealing to the users since they couldn’t update all the data fast enough using this method, and roads, bridges, buildings and tunnels was changing vastly at a super fast pace. This made photogrammetry data collecting not a good investment there, consider the amount of money, time and resources involved.
You can also see this problem in many places in the US, here at where I live in the Bay Area / North California. Everything (buildings, signs, roads) is looking exactly like in 2013.
So finding the proper photogrammetry data for the majority Chinese cities would be hard, but for some major cities in China, there’s a lot of available companies Asobo / Microsoft could partner with to get these data as well.
Companies like Apple chose to partner with Chinese companies to implement map data into their Maps app and services.
I think Asobo / Microsoft could use the Apple model, partner with one of the Chinese map service giants to provide the best and accurate aerial data for the region.
Work with them, respect the local regulations (after all, which country doesn’t have those regulations?) I’m sure they would love to help, Microsoft is huge in China also, they could pull some strings easily.
At last, a China update would be an epic one. The region is more like a continent full of countless breathtaking views and discoveries.