Rumors swirled last week that Chinese search engine behemoth Baidu, the country’s answer to Google, was interested in investing as much as $600 million in ride-sharing service Uber. Well, the rumors have turned out to be true, as first reported by China-based Bloomberg reporter Edmond Lococo.
Baidu Chairman and CEO Robin Li and Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick agreed to the deal at Baidu’s Beijing headquarters. The deal brings a sizable cash influx to Uber, as well as the technical backing of a Google-type company in the world’s largest economy.
This is a big win for Uber (which can use a victory right about now). According to TechCrunch, Uber will have access to a spate of app channels in Baidu’s stable, including Baidu Map, “an interactive heat map of people’s travel patterns.” Uber will also be hiring in 14 cities in China.
Uber is currently dwarfed by two competitors in China, Kuaidi Dache and Didi Dache, which control 54.4% and 44.9% market share, respectively. But add Uber’s track record of explosive growth to this new investment from Baidu, and the Chinese taxi-hailing market may be in for a major shake-up.