Baidu says in talks to invest in Indian e-commerce start-ups

Photo: Bloomberg

Photo: Bloomberg

Beijing: Baidu Inc. is in talks to invest in Indian e-commerce start-ups, including Zomato, BookMyShow and BigBasket, a spokesperson for China’s top online search provider said on Wednesday.

“The Indian market represents an enormous opportunity for us to connect more people with services, and we plan to put more resources there in the future,” the spokesman said in an email.

Baidu declined to comment on possible investment amounts or time frames.

India’s technology start-up market is booming as more and more people shop online in a country where about 20% of a population of 1.3 billion are connected to the Internet.

The e-commerce market could grow in terms of the value of goods sold to $220 billion by 2025 from $11 billion in 2015, according to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch estimate.

That growth potential has attracted investment from global technology giants, such as China’s Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd and Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp.

Zomato is India’s leading restaurant search provider, BookMyShow is a top online seller of movies and events tickets while BigBasket is an online grocer.

“We are not actively fundraising right now, but have been in touch with Baidu to explore synergies and alignment,” said Deepinder Goyal, co-founder and chief executive at Zomato.

BigBasket declined to comment, while BookMyShow could not be immediately reached for comment.