Leading internet company in China and the second largest search engine in the world, Baidu intensifies its international expansion and gains control of one of Brazil’s largest internet properties
São Paulo, October 9th, 2014 – Baidu Inc. (NSDQ: BIDU), the leading search engine in China and one of the 10 largest internet companies in the world, with more than 700 million users and a market value of approximately USD$75 billion, today announced the acquisition of a majority stake in Peixe Urbano, the largest Brazilian local commerce company. The deal, for an undisclosed sum, represents one of the most important acquisitions to date in the Brazilian internet and technology sector. By becoming Peixe Urbano’s primary shareholder, Baidu will bring renewed access to capital and technological expertise, while maintaining the current management team onboard in order to consolidate Peixe Urbano as Brazil’s leader in O2O (online-to-offline) and one of the biggest internet players in the country.
“International expansion is a priority for Baidu and in our expansion plans Brazil is a key market, where there are over 50 million people enjoying our services on a daily basis. The acquisition of Peixe Urbano, one of the most recognized and respected companies in the Brazilian internet sector, demonstrates our long-term commitment to invest in the local market,” stated Johnson Hu, general manager of Baidu’s Global Business Unit.
Baidu began operations in Brazil in November of 2013, and in July of this year, during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Baidu’s founder and CEO Robin Li to Brazil, the company announced the launch of its search engine in Portuguese. On the same occasion, Baidu pledged to invest more than USD$50 million in the Brazilian market over the next three years. In addition to contributing to programs of the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry of Brazil, the company also committed to implementing a world-class Research & Development Center in the country – its seventh in the world. Currently, Baidu has research centers in China (Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen), the United Sates (Silicon Valley), Singapore and Japan, with more than 25 thousand engineers worldwide.
Baidu expects to have its products used and highly recognized by half of the world’s population by 2019, with Brazil being one of its primary markets.
“Having one of the most important technology companies in the world as a partner is a great honor, a result of what we have built in Brazil over the last 4 and a half years, and the positive impact we have had on tens of thousands of merchant partners and millions of consumers throughout the nation,” noted Julio Vasconcellos, CEO and co-founder of Peixe Urbano. “We are excited with our plans for the future, knowing that Baidu is 100% committed to act not only as a capital partner but more importantly as a technology and knowledge partner that shares our vision for how to grow and consolidate Peixe Urbano’s leadership position in the market,” adds Vasconcellos.
Over the last few years, Peixe Urbano has progressively evolved its business model and today is positioned as a vast virtual marketplace, which helps to connect consumers throughout Brazil with businesses from different sectors, including food and beverage, cosmetic, entertainment, travel and consumer goods, always seeking to bring greater convenience and ease-of-use to its clients. As the quality leader in its sector, Peixe Urbano is the only company to have received the highest accolades from popular consumer rating sites in the country. The company has also made great strides in implementing mobile technology, location-based services, search and customization. As Baidu is one of the global leaders in these fields, there is great potential for synergy following the acquisition and excellent prospects for the Brazilian internet market.
In addition to capital and technological know-how, Baidu will also bring to Peixe Urbano its vast experience in the online deals segment, as it owns one of the leading companies in this sector in China and one of the largest in the world. China’s internet market is significant not only in size but also in its dynamic nature and innovative technologies. There, smartphones represent 80% of the online access. With all of its experience and resources, Baidu will certainly be able to accelerate Peixe Urbano’s efforts to solidify its leadership position within Brazil’s O2O market, connecting an increasing number of consumers and local businesses via the web, and especially the mobile web.
“The investment in Peixe Urbano will allow Baidu to accelerate its growth in Brazil and to more rapidly develop partnerships with service providers that will result in enhanced capabilities for our search service in Portuguese. This acquisition also sends a clear message of our long-term commitment and vision for the local market,” says Johnson Hu, general manager of Baidu’s Global Business Unit.
Peixe Urbano continues to function as a standalone entity only within the Baidu ecosystem. The company has no plans to make any changes to its brand, its team or its services to consumers and merchants, aside from incorporating new resources that will accelerate its growth and leadership position within the Brazilian local commerce sector.
Baidu, Inc. is the leading Chinese language Internet search provider. As a technology-based media company, Baidu aims to provide the best and most equitable way for people to find what they’re looking for. In addition to serving individual Internet search users, Baidu provides an effective platform for businesses to reach potential customers. Baidu’s ADSs trade on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “BIDU”. Currently, ten ADSs represent one Class A ordinary share.
About Peixe Urbano
Peixe Urbano is the first and largest Brazilian local commerce company. It helps people explore the best things to do in each city while helping local merchants develop their business. Founded in Brazil in the beginning of 2010, Peixe Urbano is currently one of the most visited websites in the country. It is also the first Latin American company to be named “Best International Startup of the Year” during the Crunchies Awards, one of the most esteemed awards of the internet and technology sector worldwide.