Baidu buys into property website
Mainland internet search giant Baidu is building up its e-commerce portfolio with an investment in Anjuke, operator of the nation's leading website for buying and selling second-hand residential properties.
According to Shanghai-based Anjuke, it has completed a new round of funding worth US$50 million that was led by Baidu.
'This financing bolsters Anjuke's position as the leading platform for property transactions in China and deepens our relationship with Baidu,' said Mike Liang, the company's founder and chairman.
The company plans to use the proceeds for expansion and in research and development.
Last year, Baidu and Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten agreed to jointly invest US$50 million over three years to establish a new online shopping centre on the mainland. The venture, Lekutian, has started operations and offers a wide range of goods such as apparel, fashion accessories, furniture, home electronics and appliances, digital equipment, baby goods and cosmetics.
'Baidu continues to develop products beyond traditional Web search,' JP Morgan Securities (Asia-Pacific) analyst Dick Wei said in a report.
The popular Anjuke online marketplace, which was set up in 2007, is estimated to have 10 million visitors a month. The company also launched haozu.com and aifang.com last year to focus on property rental and new property sales, respectively.
Baidu, founded in Beijing in 2000, posted a 137.4 per cent increase in net profit to 3.52 billion yuan (HK$4.17 billion) last year.