The battle between Uber and its largest investor, Google, heated up as Chinese search giant Baidu, Google’s largest Asian rival, joined Uber in bidding for Nokia’s mapping data unit, HERE.

Uber kicked off the bidding war for HERE less than two weeks ago but the price has escalated and the alliances are said to have shifted.

It was initially reported in the New York Times that Chinese Web search giant Baidu was bidding with the big three of Germany’s car business, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Now, its rumored that Baidu and Uber linking arms, along with Apax Partners.

Bloomberg, the news outlet with the source, says the German manufacturers appear to be behind in the running while the key rival bid is now China’s Tencent Holdings, NavInfo, and Swedish fund EQT Partners.

The price is said to have risen from US$3 billion to $4 billion, and Nokia looks likely to keep the bidding war going for awhile longer. The three German manufacturers are still in the race, and the next round of bids are due in two weeks.

“Microsoft Corp. has offered to buy a minority stake, while three US private-equity firms – Hellman & Friedman, Silver Lake Management and Thoma Bravo – are also in the running”, Bloomberg reported.

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