Circle Internet Financial raised $60 million in a funding round backed by Baidu Inc. as the startup that allows users to send payments for free also formed a China business to win customers in the second-largest economy.
Circle China has been created as an independent company with local investors to capitalize on a population that’s comfortable with payments made over social media. Baidu’s investment is the latest in a series by the search company as it tries to diversify. The company is partnering with China Citic Bank Corp. and starting a financial technology incubator in Hong Kong. Baidu’s investment in Circle gives the company a stronger foot-holding in the payments space that’s dominated by Tencent Wechat and Alipay.