Uber Technologies is selling a minority stake to Baidu, which owns China’s largest search engine, in a cash and non-cash asset deal that “may be worth as much as $600 million,” according to a China National Radio report as noted by Bloomberg.
The Baidu investment could prove critical to the transportation app, as the China market is today dominated by various startups with backing from Alibaba and Tencent. San Francisco-based Uber just wrapped investments that puts its valuation at a stratospheric startup level at $41 billion.
“Uber needs a local player like Baidu that really understands the Chinese market,” Li Yujie, an analyst at RHB Research Institute Sdn in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg. “Baidu is trying to promote its mobile payment system, Uber would help it gain more traffic and boost its location-based services.”
The deal may become public knowledge on Dec. 17, when Baidu is promising to announce an investment in “a U.S. startup that is now a household name,” Kaiser Kuo, a Beijing-based spokesman for Baidu, told Bloomberg. Kuo wouldn’t identify who was receiving that investment.