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Baidu CEO: We’re Still Interested in Nokia's Here Maps

Just call him Dora the Explorer.

Tyler Pina for Re/code

Last week there were reports that Chinese search and Web services company Baidu’s interest in the Nokia Here mapping technology had waned after a joint bid with Uber petered out.

But Baidu CEO Robin Li told Re/code that’s not the case. “We’re still interested. We only have the Chinese [mapping] data right now,” Li said in an interview. “We need the global mapping data going forward.”

According to reports, Baidu was originally working with Uber to outbid a German carmakers consortium made up of BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, among others. The competitiveness over the property drove up the cost, and Uber reportedly dropped out of the running a few weeks ago.

When asked whether Uber was also still interested in the Here property, Li declined to comment. So might Baidu partner up with another bidder? “I cannot say too much about it because it’s not a done deal,” Li said when pushed for details.

A spokesperson declined to comment, but pointed out that earlier reports linked Baidu with the German car consortium, helping with financing in return for a minority stake.

If Baidu wants to expand its search engine outside Chinese borders, it will require detailed information on other countries’ roads, shops and landmarks. As we’ve covered, there are few mapping properties available for companies to bid on. They’re expensive to maintain because you have to send cars with cameras out to record the data regularly.

For companies in which maps are key like Baidu or Uber, it’s risky to rely on another source for a function that powers a significant part of their businesses.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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