Chinese search engine giant Baidu and China Citic Bank are in negotiations to establish a direct bank. China Citic Bank has applied to suspend the trading of its stocks on Monday, citing discussions on an outside investment project, according to NetEase news portal.
Baidu failed to establish a private bank with Lenovo previously. Baidu will not need a license to establish a direct bank, while a private bank will still be subject to regulatory restrictions.
Baidu is a little late to the game this time – the other BAT companies have already moved into internet finance. Webank, an online bank which is 30% owned by Tencent, was established in January, while Mybank, an online bank which is 30% owned by Alibaba-backed Ant Financial, was established in June.