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China's Baidu builds empire with music, Amazon deals

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.

[SHANGHAI] Chinese Internet giant Baidu on Thursday announced two deals linked to the entertainment industry, including a tie up with online retailer Amazon to provide it with search services.

Baidu, often described as the Chinese equivalent of Google, has been seeking to leverage its online dominance in a country where most of the US search giant's websites are banned.

Baidu has agreed with Amazon China to become the default search engine in the country for its e-book readers and also cooperate in app distribution and video content, according to a Baidu statement.

Amazon will "integrate" with Baidu's app store and online video platform iQIYI, it said, which is a rival of an Internet television company newly acquired by e-commerce behemoth Alibaba.

On the same day, Baidu said it would merge its music business with one of China's biggest music rights holders, Taihe Entertainment Group, which covers mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore.

Taihe holds original rights to over 10,000 compositions and 700,000 recordings, the statement showed.

The deal marked the latest in a string of mergers and acquisitions by China's top three Internet firms.

At the end of October, Baidu took the lead in the online travel sector after two of China's largest online travel firms - Baidu-controlled Qunar and Ctrip - agreed a share swap and partnership deal to create the country's biggest Internet travel service.

Two weeks prior to the deal, China's e-commerce giant Alibaba announced plans to buy outstanding shares of Youku Tudou, the Asian country's equivalent of YouTube, in a deal estimated to be worth US$4.8 billion.