Chinese search engine provider Baidu is accelerating its move into financial services, forming a partnership to apply for "multiple banking licenses".
According to Reuters, chief executive Robin Li told reporters "Baidu is now applying for multiple banking licenses, including payment, but because we're still in the process of applying it's not convenient to reveal too much".
Baidu and fellow Web firms Tencent and Alibaba have moved into wealth management services over the last few months, signing up millions of Chinese attracted by higher interest rates than banks are allowed to offer.
"What Baidu does at the moment is market financial products. This is just a more convenient way of selling currently available financial products to an audience," said Li.