Chinese search engine company Baidu Inc. reportedly intends to acquire the lifestyle information provider Aibang.com.
Rumors swirling on the Internet revealed that Baidu's valuation of Aibang.com is about USD100 million. Initial public offerings of Chinese companies are seen as a riskier exit recently with much focus on the accounting shenanigans among these types of firms, so an acquisition may be Aibang's investors last, great hope.
In November 2012, Ma Haiping, chief operating officer of Aibang.com, announced in an internal email that the company realized profit during the third quarter of 2012 and they were seeking a new round of financing. However, Ma gave no comment on the acquisition rumors at that time.
According to reports in Chinese local media, the core team members of Aibang.com are all former employees of Baidu. Aibang.com was founded by Liu Jianguo, former chief technology officer of Baidu, and Zhou Limin, former chief architect of Baidu, in 2007. Its COO Ma is former business development director of Baidu. In addition, Aibang.com focuses on local lifestyle information search services, which are supplementary to the services of Baidu.
At present, Aibang.com has four mobile app products, covering neighborhood local information services, public transit information, mobile marketing, and nightlife information. The website claims a user group of over ten million for its neighborhood information service app.