Chinese Search Engine Baidu Is Investing In Uber To Help The Company Expand Into Asia

Search engine Baidu Inc will invest in taxi-hailing app maker Uber Technologies Inc, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday, becoming the latest Chinese Internet firm to take an interest in the flourishing market for transportation apps.

The size of Baidu’s investment – and its valuation of Uber – are unknown, but the Chinese firm has scheduled a press conference to announce an investment into an unnamed U.S.-based startup on Dec. 17 in Beijing.

State media outlet China National Radio reported the deal earlier this week.

Uber’s alliance with Baidu mirrors partnerships between dominant Chinese taxi-hailing apps Kuaidi Dache and Didi Dache, which have been backed by Baidu rivals Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Tencent Holdings Ltd respectively.

Uber said earlier this month it raised funding valuing the company at $US40 billion, propelling it into the ranks of the world’s most richly valued private companies.

The U.S. startup has suffered a number of setbacks this week. Thailand and Spain are among countries to have halted its services for regulatory reasons, while in India, the arrest of an Uber driver accused of rape has led to a ban and a review of safety.

An Uber spokeswoman in Singapore did not respond to a request for comment.

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This article originally appeared at Reuters. Copyright 2014. Follow Reuters on Twitter.

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