Baidu’s Takes a $300 Mln Spin on Travel Market 百度斥资3亿美元进军旅游市场

Search leader Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU) seems to be all over the headlines this past week, as it looks desperately for new areas that can contribute to its top and bottom-line growth for the day when its search business starts to slow, which may be sooner than many people think. In the biggest piece of news, Baidu has announced a $300 million investment in online travel site Qunar. (company announcement; English article) Honestly speaking, this investment doesn’t look too exciting, as the online travel services space is already dominated by well-established players Ctrip (Nasdaq: CTRP) and eLong (Nasdaq: LONG), as well as a number of smaller players with backing from big state-run travel firms. A quick view of the site is also quite underwhelming, as it doesn’t appear to offer anything that the others don’t already have and, accordingly, I wouldn’t expect to see too much return from this investment. Two other tie-ups that have made recent headlines will see Baiidu forming a strategic partnership with leading real estate service firm China Real Estate Investment Corp (Nasdaq: CRIC) (English article); and buying a 29 percent stake in online ratings service Lefbrain Technology. (English article) These two deals look slightly more interesting in that they are focused around Baidu’s core strength of organizing and providing Web-based information. If it plays these initiatives right, perhaps one might contribute to its future business. But the much larger travel investment looks suspiciously like some of its previous attempts outside its core area, such as forays into micro blogging and online retail that both ended up as duds that were later shut down.

Bottom line: Baidu’s new travel services foray looks like another dud investment outside its core search business, while recent real estate and ratings tie-ups could stand some chance of success.

在刚刚过去的这周,中国最大的网络搜索引擎百度<BIDU.O>似乎成为各大媒体的头条,因其亟需寻找新的增长领域,以弥补其搜索业务可能出现的疲软之势,而这一趋势的出现或许会比很多人想像的更早。其中一条最重头新闻是,百度将斥资3亿美元投资去哪儿网。说实话,这笔投资看起来没那麽令人兴奋,因为在线旅游服务市场已被携程<CTRP.O>和艺龙<LONG.O>等业界巨头以及一系列由国有旅行社支持的小企业所占领。我迅速浏览了一下去哪儿网站,发现它乏善可陈,因它与其他类似网站大同小异,并无特别之处,因此,我并不期望百度的这笔投资会带来可观回报。近期另外两条与百度有关的重磅新闻是:百度与中国房产信息集团<CRIC.O>达成战略夥伴关系,以及百度收购了垂直互联网企业莱富特佰 29%的股权。这两项交易似乎稍微有趣一点,因它们聚焦于百度整合和提供网络信息的核心力量。如果百度能正确运营这两个项目,或许其中一个确将有助於百度未来的业务发展。但对去哪儿网的高额投资则前景可疑,正如百度之前曾涉足某些与其核心业务关系不大的领域,例如进军微博和在线零售行业,但这两笔投资最终都不了了之。
一句话:百度进军旅游业的新举动似乎又是一笔与其核心业务无关的无用投资,而与中国房产信息集团和莱富特佰的合作或许尚有胜算的机会。

Related postings 相关文章:

Baidu’s Latest Botch: Microblogging 百度“微博”的倒掉

Baidu’s Li Under Assault in Media Spotlight 百度李彦宏遭媒体炮轰

Baidu: Tidbits But Still No Search Alternatives 百度:干扰不断

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