Not only will China's biggest search engine have access to netizens' online search habits, it will soon also hold dominion over their bank accounts too.
Baidu Inc. reportedly obtained regulatory approval to establish a direct banking unit in partnership with China CITIC Bank.
The joint venture bank named Baixin Bank will tentatively have RMB2 billion in registered capital. Baixin Bank, which is 70% owned by CITIC Bank, with the remaining stake held by Baidu, will not have any brick-and-mortar outlets. It will only operate via the Internet, ATMs and mobile banking.
Rivals Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., founded their own banking units in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
Baixin Bank has not given a definitive timeline for when its full suite of services will be available to consumers in China.