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

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

BEIJING - Baidu Inc is in talks to invest in Indian e-commerce start-ups including Zomato, BookMyShow and BigBasket, a spokesman 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 told Reuters by 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 per cent 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 US$220 billion (S$315 billion) by 2025 from US$11 billion in 2015, Bank of America Merrill Lynch estimated.

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

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

Zomato and BigBasket did not immediately reply to emails seeking comment. BookMyShow could not be immediately reached for comment.

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