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Alibaba Builds A Home, Baidu Funds e-Commerce

Bottom line: New $200-$300 million investments by Baidu and Alibaba in smaller Internet companies show such fundings are starting to recede in size after peaking earlier this year.

Two big fund-raising stories are in the headlines today, each involving a top Internet company as China’s “big 3″ trio of Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) and Tencent (OTCPK:TCEHY) look for ways to put their big cash pots to work. It’s interesting to note that neither Baidu nor Alibaba is the central player in either of these latest deals, one in e-commerce and the other in online-to-offline (O2O) services. Instead, both are playing secondary roles, supporting other companies with good growth potential.

The larger of the 2 investments is seeing Alibaba participate in a new $300 million first funding round for a 1-year-old company that helps web surfers find home-based services like cleaning and baby sitting. The second has Baidu participating in a $200 million funding for an older e-commerce company with close ties to state-run cereals giant COFCO.

I’ve said in recent months that the gravy train of mega-fundings for Chinese Internet companies appears to have passed its peak following an explosion of mega deals early this year. These latest 2 deals seem to...