Chinese search engine announced that is plans to make a USD306 million investment in, a Chinese travel search engine.

The investment will make Baidu the majority shareholder of Qunar, which offers Chinese consumers real-time searches for air and rail tickets, hotels, and tour packages.

The parties currently expect that the transaction will close in the third quarter of 2011. After the investment, Qunar will continue to operate as an independent company, while both companies will cooperate in certain areas of online travel search. Baidu plans to finance the investment through obtaining a third-party loan facility.

Though is venture-backed by GSR Ventures, Mayfield Fund, Tenaya Capital and GGV Capital, the company has had legal and branding battles in recent years. competes with, a Chinese travel search website that bears a similar brand, URL name, website feel, and online e-commerce travel services.

Guangzhou-based announced in late 2009 that it briefed a lawyer to file a trademark opposition application against According to at the time, on June 6, 2003, it registered the domain name “”, which is the Chinese Pinyin of the word “where”. However, was reportedly registered on May 9, 2005, which is two years later that Under Article 31 of Trademark Law of China, entities should not attempt to use prior registration to preempt the use of a domain name that has been in regular use, stated No further word from either company has been heard as to whether that case went forward.

In 2009, lost a court case in Beijing to China leading online travel website, In April 2008, reportedly found that was copying and scraping commented articles from in its hotel area. The case was heard by Haidian People’s Court of Beijing on November 12, 2008, and the court subsequently announced its decision that’s activity had constituted an infringing behavior and should make an apology posted for 24 hours on the front page of its website and pay the relevant notarization fees and litigation costs.