Baidu Inc., which operates China’s most popular search engine, has formally launched its mobile payment platform, state news agency Xinhua reported Tuesday.
Baidu Wallet offers money transfer, payment and wealth management services, Zhang Zhenghua, general manager of Baidu’s payment branch Baifubao, was quoted as saying.
The service puts Baidu in direct competition with Tencent which operates Wechat Payment and Alibaba which owns Alipay Wallet. Both predate Baidu by at least eight months.
China’s so-called BAT triumvirate (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent) have been driving mergers and acquisitions in the mainland as they speed up development of their mobile internet business, the report said.
NASDAQ-listed Baidu closed a US$1.9 billion deal to acquire 91 Wireless Websoft, a major Chinese smartphone application distributor, in August.
In May, Baidu spent US$370 million to acquire the online video platform PPS to compete with industry leader Youku Tudou.
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