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October 13, 2016

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Baidu sets aside US$3b to fund Internet deals

CHINA’S Baidu Inc said yesterday that it has established a 20 billion yuan (US$3 billion) investment fund, Baidu Capital, as the country’s dominant search engine seeks a way to remain relevant in the smartphone era and beyond.

Investments will focus on mid- and late-stage deals in the Internet sector, in yuan, US dollars and other currencies, with individual funding amounts ranging from US$50 million to US$100 million, the company said on its official WeChat mobile messaging account.

As for Baidu Capital, its money will come from large insurance funds, securities companies and others, and investment institutions with a state background have also expressed interest in participating, the company said without naming any firms.

Not only have both the search giant’s main rivals Tencent Holdings Ltd and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd fared better with mobile users in China, the world’s biggest smartphone market, but a post-smartphone era of artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality could shake up the technology sector again.

To address that possible future, Baidu announced last month the creation of Baidu Venture, a US$200 million fund to invest in those three fields.



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