Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and Robin Li, chairman and CEO of Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) officially announced a strategic investment and cooperation agreement in Beijing today.
Under the terms of the agreement, Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) invest in the Uber and it connect the 500 million users of its mobile search app and 240 million users of Baidu Map with Uber driver-partners. The San Francisco-based startup will leverage the strengths of the Chinese company in mobile search, mobile mapping and app distribution.
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The executives did not disclose the financial terms of the agreement. Last week, it had been reported that Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) acquired a minority stake in Uber. Some people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that the Chinese company invested $600 million in the American startup.
In a statement, Mr. Li said, “Uber’s rapid growth in the last four years is testimony to the tremendous demand for easy, reliable, and inexpensive transportation. We’re delighted that we can work together to help meet that demand—and we’re excited by this pioneering strategic partnership between a Chinese and an American internet company.”
Asia-Pacific is a key growth area for Uber
On the other hand, Mr. Kalanich emphasized that the collaboration with Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) is a milestone for Uber. According to him, the company’s ride-sharing service is now available in 250 cities around the world.
Mr. Kalanich added that the Asia-Pacific region is a key growth area for Uber. He said, “Our partnership with Baidu—a premier global brand—reflects our commitment to the region and the growing community of Uber riders and driver-partners here.”
At present, Uber is operating in nine cities in China including Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Chengdu, and Hangzhou.
Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) has the largest mobile app distribution platform in China. The internet search provider is distributing an average of 160 million apps per day. Baidu recently expanded its business in multiple markets including Southeast Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, and Latin America. The company launched its Portuguese search engine in Brazil last July.
New Enterprise Associates, one of the oldest and largest venture capital firms worldwide also acquired a stake in Uber. The start-up’s valuation reached $41 billion, up from $17 billion six months ago.