In a move that should seal its spot as the Google of China, Baidu announced that it has acquired a stake in online video platform iQiyi from Providence Equity Partners though the property is closer to a Hulu than to a YouTube.
iQiyi, formerly known as Qiyi, was the first online video platform in China to focus exclusively on fully licensed, high-def and professionally produced content, according to Baidu. While YouTube is obviously not exclusive to this content, it has been making major effort to feature more of it.
As of August, iQiyi was ranked as the top online video platform in the country (based on average time spent per user). It was also number two in terms of total monthly time spent (based on data from iResearch).
"Online video is a key strategic vertical for Baidu as user numbers and time-spend continue to increase exponentially, underscoring the tremendous potential in the sector," said Baidu CEO Robin Li. "We are very pleased with the progress iQiyi has made and have confidence that iQiyi's management will continue to grow its leading position. Going forward, we see users spending more and more time on online video and we will integrate iQiyi's content more seamlessly into Baidu's overall search and mobile services."
iQiyi founder and CEO Dr. Yu Gong said, "iQiyi has established a great business foundation and strong brand recognition and we look forward to leveraging our relationship with Baidu to further drive superior user and advertising customer experience."
Once the transaction is completed, Baidu will own the majority stake in the company. Providence Equity Partners recently sold a stake in Hulu as well.