Chinese language internet search provider Baidu has made a $306m investment in venture-backed travel search engine Qunar. The company will be the largest shareholder in the business following the close of the transaction.
Founded in 2005 by Fritz Demopoulos, Chenchao Zhuang and Douglas Koo and b acked by GSR Ventures, Mayfield Fund, Tenaya Capital and GGV Capital, Qunar provides the widest coverage of travel search engine in China, offering real-time searches for air and rail tickets, hotels and tour packages
The company was ranked as the most widely-used travel websites in China by daily visitors, according to analyst iResearch.
Baidu’s CFO Jennifer Li said: “Travel has long been one of the top categories on Baidu, and the number of travelers in China has been growing very rapidly, so this is a market of obvious strategic importance to us. Our investment in Qunar will create an even better search experience for users planning trips.”
After the investment, Qunar will continue to operate as an independent company, and both companies will cooperate in certain areas of online travel search. Baidu plans to finance the investment through obtaining a third-party loan facility.
A technology-based media company, Baidu serves individual internet search users and provides a platform for business to reach potential customers. The company is publicly traded under the symbol ticker BIDU in NASDAQ.
In 2010, Baidu teamed up with media-focused private equity firm Providence Equity Partners to set up an online video channel
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