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Search engine Baidu to invest in Uber Technologies

12 December 2014

Search engine Baidu Inc plans to invest in taxi-hailing app maker Uber Technologies Inc, Reuters reported citing a source.

With the move, Baidu would become the latest Chinese internet firm to acquire a stake in the flourishing market for transportation apps.

The size of the company's investment as also its valuation of Uber were not know, but the Chinese firm had scheduled a press conference to announce an investment into an unnamed US-based start up on 17 December in Beijing.

The deal was earlier reported by state media outlet China National Radio, earlier this week.

Uber's tie-up with Baidu reflected partnerships between dominant Chinese taxi-hailing apps Kuaidi Dache and Didi Dache, that had been backed by Baidu rivals Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Tencent Holdings Ltd respectively.

Uber said earlier this month that it raised funding that valued the company at $40 billion, taking it to the ranks of the world's most richly-valued private companies.

The week had seen the US start up suffer several setbacks. Its company's services had been stopped for regulatory reasons in Thailand and Spain while in India, the arrest of an Uber driver accused of rape had led to government banning it.

Meanwhile, Tech Crunch reported that the Chinese internet giant would invest as much as $600 million in the US firm.

TechCrunch said it had been told by a source inside the company that a deal was expected to be announced next Wednesday.

In China, Baidu could offer Uber valuable data from its various products, includng mobile search, mobile maps and 91Wireless, one of China's top mobile app stores which it bought for $1.9 billion last year.

Data collected from Baidu's map app, which reached over 200 million active users, had allowed the company to see trends in travel in cities or during certain events. For instance, earlier this year the company released a heat map of most popular routes during Chinese New Year.

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