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Chinese search engine Baidu invests in Uber


Beijing– Baidu, China’s leading search engine, is investing an unspecified amount of money in U.S. online transportation service Uber. Under the terms of the agreement, Baidu will invest in Uber and enable users of Baidu Map and Mobile Baidu, Baidu’s flagship mobile search app, to connect easily with Uber driver-partners.

Uber will leverage Baidu’s capabilities in mobile search, mobile mapping and app distribution. Uber currently operates in nine cities in China—Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Chengdu, and Hangzhou.

Hangzhou is the city where Chinese e-commerce platform Alibaba, a leader in providing online transportation services in the country, is headquartered. Baidu CEO mentioned Alibaba and Chinese Internet company Tencent Holdings as online transportation competitors in public comments about the deal.

In recent years Baidu has expanded into multiple markets outside of China, focusing on Southeast Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, and Latin America. In July, Baidu launched its first western-language search engine. in Portuguese in Brazil.

Baidu mobile search has more than 500 million monthly active users, and Baidu Map has more than 240 million monthly active users. Baidu is China’s largest mobile app distribution platform, distributing an average of 160 million apps on a daily basis. In addition, the Baidu investment will likely help Uber clear potentially onerous Chinese regulations. Uber has encountered regulatory issues in efforts to expand to markets including Brazil, India, Spain and the Netherlands.

“This collaboration marks a milestone for Uber,” said Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber. “We’re currently in 250 cities around the world, and the Asia-Pacific region has been a key area of growth for us. Our partnership with Baidu reflects our commitment to the region and the growing community of Uber riders and driver-partners here.”
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