Chinese web giant Baidu has revealed a surge in its content investment, with higher costs relating to its Hulu-style on-demand service iQiyi.
Third quarter results showed Baidu, which is the largest Chinese-language internet search provider, had ploughed US$81.2 million in content in the three months to September 30.
This equates to 3.7% of Baidu’s overall revenues, up from 2.5% in the same period last year, and 3% in the preceding quarter of this year.
Baidu became the majority shareholder in iQiyi in February 2012 buying acquiring shares owned by former Hulu co-owner Providence Equity Partners. The pair had launched the service in 2010 as a ‘Chinese Hulu’-style service
The Chinese firm then acquired the online video business of Shanghai-based PPS, and merged that with iQiyi.
This firmly placed it in competition with then market-leader Youku-Tudou. Reports this year say iQiyi has since surpassed its rival and is the top on-demand player in China.
Baidu is among a number of major Chinese digital companies pushing into content. Various US reports this month have noted Jack Ma, the owner of e-commerce giant Alibaba, has been in Hollywood looking at new deals with the likes of Lionsgate and Sony.
Baidu’s Q3 net profit was US$631.5 million.