In response to the rumor that the Chinese lifestyle information website Aibang.com has been acquired by the Chinese instant messaging and online game operator Tencent, Liu Jianguo, CEO of Aibang.com, said the rumor is not true.
Chinese media reported this past week that Tencent has acquired Aibang.com for between USD4 million and USD5 million and the transaction was decided at the beginning of this year. The rumors online also state that the U.S. software giant Microsoft participated in the transaction.
Affected by the global financial crisis, the value of some small and medium-sized enterprises has decreased, providing good acquisition opportunities for companies like Tencent, which has plenty of cash. In addition, though Tencent has performed well in instant messaging and online games, and it has already started to explore the social networking services market, because its Internet search service is much inferior to that of Baidu and Google. By acquiring Aibang.com, Tencent can further optimize its Internet search subsidiary Sousou.com, so the possibility of Tencent's acquisition of Aibang.com cannot be excluded.
However, Liu told local media that the rumor about Tencent's acquisition of Aibang.com is not true. Meanwhile, Tencent is also unavailable for comment on this issue.
Founded by Liu in 2006, Aibang.com is one of the largest lifestyle information websites in China, providing information on restaurants, traffic, and other local services. Because of the lack of a clear profit model, the prospects of Chinese lifestyle information websites have not always been optimistic. Liu once said at the beginning of 2009 that the company still needs about three years for Aibang.com to make a profit.