China’s Baidu Tipped for Stake in Uber

Chinese Internet group Baidu is said to be in the process of making an investment in Uber, the controversial taxi hailing app.

The deal was reported on China National Radio on Friday.

The report said that Baidu, which is China’s online search market leader, will invest some $600 million into the company.

Baidu has scheduled a press conference for Wednesday next week. Dow Jones reported a Baidu spokesman as saying the meeting will announce an investment in an American startup company that is “a household name in the U.S.”

Baidu would conceivably be able to offer Uber integration with maps, search and micro payment systems. Uber currently has operations in some 12 Chinese cities.

If Baidu is confirmed as investing in Uber, it raises the stakes in the ride-sharing and taxi hailing market in China. E-commerce giant Alibaba has invested in rival taxi operator Kuaidi Dache, while rival Chinese internet group Tencent has backed Dache. (Japanese technology and media investor SoftBank last week also bought a stake in pan-Asian service GrabTaxi.)

Uber has this week suffered setbacks in Thailand and Spain, growing regulatory problems in California and in Indi one of its drivers has been accused of rape.

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