The rumor has been flying around in Chinese media that Baidu is to acquire UC, Chinese No.1 Mobile browser. According to an insider, UC was actually in talk with Baidu last year, but its $1b valuation is turned down by Baidu; later Baidu offered $400m to by 49% share of UC, which was refused by UC.
According to a report from Baidu Mobile, 33.2% of the traffic to m.baidu.com is from UC (QQ Browser generates 14.8% and Opera contributes 1.0%). Baidu does not have any super star service or application for mobile, which might leave Baidu losing the war in mobile market. The acquisition of UC could give Baidu the immediate ‘control’ of the entry to mobile internet again.
Yu Yongfu, the CEO of UC used to tell local media that UC could be listed within 2 years, and its valuation has reached $1b. So the rumor is true, it would be a cheap deal. Note that, last year Baidu paid $306m to buy 62.01% share of Qunar.
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