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Chinese search engine giant Baidu sets up $3 bn investment fund

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Beijing-based search engine major Baidu Inc. has set up a 20 billion Yuan ($3 billion) fund to invest in the internet sector, the firm said on Wednesday.

According to Reuters, the fund ‘Baidu Capital’ will focus on mid- and late-stage firms, with individual funding amounts ranging from $50 million to $100 million.

The company announced the setting up of Baidu Capital through its official WeChat mobile messaging account.

Last month, Baidu launched Baidu Venture, a $200 million fund to invest in the fields of artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality.

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Baidu’s rivals in China, Tencent Holdings Ltd and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd have made big investments in Indian startups.

In August, India’s Whatsapp rival Hike raised $175 million led by Tencent, the maker of messaging app WeChat. In the same month VCCircle reported that Tencent is close to investing more than $150 million in India’s payment wallet firm FreeCharge.

FreeCharge’s India rival Paytm and ecommerce firm Snapdeal are investee companies of Jack Ma-led Alibaba.

Baidu, which put $600 million in cab-hailing Uber this year, was rumoured to be planning investments in India too. Reuters previously reported that Baidu was in talks with Indian e-commerce firms Zomato, BookMyShow and BigBasket.

Baidu Capital’s money will come from big insurance funds, securities companies and state-backed investment institutions, the firm said.

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