China’s Baidu Confirms Uber Stake Buy

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HONG KONG — Chinese online giant Baidu on Wednesday confirmed that it has become a strategic shareholder in Uber, the taxi hailing app.

Details of the detail were not disclosed, but multiple Chinese sources have pegged the investment at some $600 million. News of the deal was first reported last week.

“This collaboration marks a milestone for Uber. We’re currently in about 250 cities around the world, and the Asia Pacific has been a key area of growth for us,” said Travis Kalanick, Uber CEO at a ‘strategic co-operation and investment signing ceremony’ in Beijing.

“Our partnership with Baidu – a premier global brand – reflects our commitment to the region and the growing community of Uber riders and driver-partners here.”

Uber has raised $2.5 billion since its start up in 2009. The company recently earmarked $1.2 billion of a funding round for expansion in the Asia pacific that valued it at $40 billion.

Financial investors say that the deal is not about Baidu’s financial capacity, but its technological offering and local market knowledge. The company notably operates Baidu maps.

“The issue is more importantly about mobile payments, location based services, and managing regulatory and cultural issues,” GGV Capital, a venture capital investors with stakes in Didi (a taxi app in China) and GrabTaxi (a taxi app in SE Asia), told Variety.

  

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