Baidu Inc. – the search company that is just as famous as Google, though mainly in China – is ready to acquire a small stake in California-based Uber Technologies Inc, offering a boost for the ride-sharing service in the country.
A source talked to Bloomberg about the minority stake deal, saying the purchase might give a much-needed advantage to the car-booking company based in San Francisco as it seeks to further expand in China. The person, who declined to be named because the deal has not been made public yet, added that as part of the purchase Baidu would offer Uber cash and non-cash assets, the latter including the crucial online resources of China’s largest Internet search engine. According to an earlier report on the matter from China National Radio, the purchase could be worth as much as $600 million.
Uber seems to finally get some positive news, as the car-booking app provider has been facing a mounting number of regulatory and legal hurdles and has been challenged in and off-court from India to its home state of California. The service is currently expanding and hiring in 14 cities in China, though in the world’s largest auto market the US company is actually targeting premium customers – willing to pay more to be able to track the vehicle’s approach, skipping the handling of local cash and having daily newspapers and Wi-Fi access once in the car.