Baidu’s Turn as a Bank Is Unwelcome

Everything is a bank in China these days it seems—even its biggest internet search engine.

The move by Baidu—often referred to as China’s Google—into financial services has now caught the eye of ratings firm Fitch, which put the company on “negative watch” Wednesday because of the rising risk from its shadow banking activities. Like many Chinese banks, Baidu sells wealth management products—mostly short-term, high-yielding investments—via its online platform. Such so-called WMPs have exploded in recent years in China,…

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