Baidu Inc., owner of China's most- popular search-engine, said it agreed to buy a majority stake in China travel site Qunar for $306 million. The purchase will close in the third quarter, Beijing-based Baidu said in a statement today. The deal will be financed by a third-party loan, it said. Baidu is boosting spending on technology and stepping up investment to extend its dominance of the search-engine market in China into other services such as online commerce and video. The company is becoming "more active" in investing in technology firms, seeking out electronic-commerce, mobile and social networking assets, Chief Financial Officer Jennifer Li said in an April interview. "Travel has long been one of the top categories on Baidu, and the number of travelers in China has been growing very rapidly," Li said in today's statement. "So this is a market of obvious strategic importance to us." Get the full story at the San Francisco Chronicle Read also "The building up of Qunar into a company worth $306m to Baidu" at Web In Travel