Chinese Web giant Baidu eyes acquisitions to boost its mobile push

Chinese Web giant Baidu eyes acquisitions to boost its mobile push

Chinese search giant Baidu is ready to step up its acquisition game to help it continue to develop its business into key areas of focus, according to CEO Robin Li.

Speaking on an analyst call, Li revealed that the company is accelerating its growth plans in areas such as mobile, e-commerce and international expansion and, to that point, it will consider acquisitions in addition to organic growth.

Baidu has been linked with buying a piece of UC, an Opera-type browser maker from China, and Li reportedly stated his belief that inorganic growth is a key way to offer a wider range of services to users. The company will consider acquiring “ready-made” products that enhance its existing suite of services, Li added.

The US-listed company is actively developing its mobile play —  partnering with microblogging giant Sina on search and content this week — while it continues to take steps to explore potential overseas options. Last month, it opened the doors on its Singapore-based research center, aimed at helping localise services in Southeast Asia and elsewhere, while it officially stepped into Latin America with the launch of directory Hao123 in Brazil.

The company is also active in the Middle East, and is thought to be using the selective release of niche products to prepare the ground to introduce larger, more profitable services.

Speaking in February, Li said Baidu would focus hard on growing its mobile presence and, with more Chinese going online via mobiles than PCs, the strategy is bearing early fruit. Company CFO Jennifer Li (no relation) revealed that its online advertising customer base stood at 350,000 at the end of the second quarter, up 9.7 percent on the first quarter.

Baidu released its second quarter earnings on July 23. The Web giant saw revenues grow 60 percent year on year to reach $859 million during the three month period.

This year has seen some significant deals drop, including billion dollar acquisitions of Instagram and Yammer, and it will be interesting to see if Li acts on his words and Baidu joins the tech industry’s big spenders.

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