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China’s biggest internet search company, Baidu, is planning to invest in startups like restaurant search service provider Zomato, online movie and event tickets seller Bookmyshow and online grocery retailer Big Basket, says reports.

Baidu aims to gain a foothold in the Indian market by tapping startups operating in the O2O (online-to-offline) space.

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Tim Yang, head of Baidu in India said, “We are looking at opportunities across a number of sectors here, and these could be to buy, merge or invest. We are in discussions with companies which include Zomato, Bookmyshow and Big Basket.”

It also plans to expand its app store, MoboMarket, in Hindi and vernacular languages like Bengali, Tamil, Marathi, Telugu and Urdu in order to tap smartphone users in smaller cities and towns. The MoboMarket store is positioned as an alternative to Google’s Android Play Store, which commands nearly 90% share of the Indian mobile phone market. Baidu feels that local-language initiatives will make it easier to crack the market.

Earlier in November 2015, Baidu was reported to make its first investment in India by buying majority stake in coupon and discount startup Mydala. However, the search giant had declined any such speculation and the deal did not even materialise.


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