Baidu buys out e-commerce site Nuomi

Chinese search giant announces plans to acquire the remaining shares in group-buying website, Nuomi, further expanding its business portfolio beyond search.

Baidu has announced plans to acquire a group-buying e-commerce website, further expanding its product portfolio beyond its flagship search business. 

The leading Chinese search player said it was buying out the remaining shares of Nuomi, from social media company RenRen , and will be the site's only shareholder and investor following the deal. Baidu in August said it would invest US$160 million for a 59 percent share in the group-buying site, which launched in June 2010 and had since diversified its business to include lifestyle content.

The 2013 investment resulted in a couple of management changes, including the exit of Nuomi CEO Shen Boyang who was replaced by Baidu's vice president Liu Jun, and the promotion of Nuomi's former vice president to COO. According to local media reports, the latest deal is expected to be completed by first-quarter 2014, with the company becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of Baidu, which said the investment underscored its optimism in the group-buying market. It added that the deal would further set the stage for further integration between services offered by both companies.

Nuomi said it handled US$120 million worth of transactions in second-quarter 2013, and had a base of 3.8 million active users.

A Baidu spokesperson told news site Tech In Asia the move demonstrated the importance of the group-buying business to the company's location-based services strategy. The site noted that the company had integrated group-buying deals into its Baidu Maps mobile apps, which has more than 80 million users in China. 

Group-buying sites in the country hit a rough patch in 2012 and 2011, when several top players shut down or lost money after enjoying a market boom.