Baidu and the uber-Uber rumourNewsBy Martin Cowen | December 12, 2014Share This article was originally published on Someone needs to write an app that keeps up with all the taxi app news and gossip. Today's speculation - Chinese internet giant Baidu is reportedly taking a stake in Uber, according to sources.The conjecture is a fascinating example of not only the way in which the rumour mill works but also how taxi apps have become this year's growth story.It appears that Baidu's director of international relations Kaiser Kuo was interviewed on Chinese National Radio and said that it was arranging a press conference in Beijing next Wednesday when it would announce an investment in a US business.When asked by Tnooz, Kuo confirmed this: "We did say that we're announcing on the 17th an investment in, and strategic cooperation deal with, a US-based startup but not specifying which company."Share this quote Nonetheless, the start-up in question has been taken to mean Uber. Within hours of the radio interview, newswires were quoting people "familiar with the situation" and reporting that Baidu was prepared to spend $600 million on a stake in Uber.I suppose we will have to wait until Wednesday to find out. It would make sense on one level: Baidu's internet competitors - TenCent and Alibaba - both have investments in taxi apps - Didi Dache and Kuiadi Dache respectively.Only yesterday Didi Dache announced a $700 million funding round, with TenCent as one of the investors.What makes less sense is the timing. Uber raised $1.2bn only a week or so ago, giving it a reported valuation of $41 billion. At that valuation, Baidu's $600 million that would give it a stake of around 1.5%. Chances are that before Uber's latest round Baidu might have got a bigger stake for its money, but not that much bigger.If Baidu does confirm the tie-up with Uber, the nature of the "strategic co-operation" will be a lot more interesting and significant than the "investment".