In its latest attempt to support Latin America’s growing technology industry, China’s biggest search engine Baidu, Inc. (BIDU - Snapshot Report) has put its faith and cash in Brazil-based Internet investment fund, Easterly Ventures.
Baidu announced itself as the lead investor in the fund worth $60 million. General Manager of Baidu Brasil and President of the Brazilian O2O Association, Mr. Yan Di stated that Easterly Ventures will be the nation’s first Internet investment fund of its kind.
Easterly’s goal is to equip Brazilian technology startups with fund, technology, local traffic and industry expertise, thereby enabling them to enter national and international markets. Meanwhile, Easterly has plans to invest in 15 Brazilian startups, with the first one scheduled for late 2016.
Baidu’s Interest in Latin America
We believe that despite facing tough competition from search peers like Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL - Analyst Report) , Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO - Analyst Report) and Microsoft Corporation’s (MSFT - Analyst Report) Bing, Baidu sees plenty of opportunities in Latin America.
Out of the 300 million global monthly active users of Baidu’s international mobile apps, 27 million are in Brazil. The company’s DU Ad Platform focusing on mobile advertising receives more than 150 million daily ad requests in Brazil.
Yan Di stated that "Brazil's economy is expected to rebound in the year ahead. There is absolutely no better time to enter this market."
Its Ventures So Far in the Region
Previously the company promoted its startup incubator projects "Baidu Class" and "Baidu Accelerate", teaming up with Latin American Association (LAAS) and top universities.
In 2015, Baidu Brasil established the Brazil O2O Association, Brazil's first business community for online-to-offline (O2O) companies.
In 2014, the company acquired Peixe Urbano, the Brazilian group-buying platform. The platform lifted its market share from 30% to 70% within a year of the acquisition.
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