Baidu Makes Half a Billion Yuan Bet on Livestreaming

May 14, 2020 11:38 pm

Beijing (PingWest)- Chinese search giant and artificial intelligence company Baidu has pledged to invest CNY500 million into its live-streaming services, aiming to cultivate 1,000-star content creator amid a surge in users of live streaming service during the Covid-19 outbreak.

“Baidu will actively promote the development of live-streaming business this year,” said Baidu executive vice-president Shen Dou at Baidu’s annual 2020 Wanxing Conference on Wednesday.

Baidu announced a series of measure to support the development of its live streaming business, including hundreds of yuan subsidies to content creators and directing more resource and user traffic to high-quality content creators and developers. Baidu also announced that it will cross-publish content across its wide-range of mobile platforms, including Baidu App, smart mini programs, Baidu Wiki, which features high-quality information compiled by experts in specialized fields, short video app Haokan, and iQIYI

The idea behind this is that cross-publishing content is expected to bring more exposure for content creators, increase communication between users and creators, and enhance the interconnectivity of Baidu's mobile ecosystem.

“Now it’s right time for Baidu to get into the live streaming business. The consumer demand for livestreaming has changed from time to time. Previously, consumer used livestreaming mainly to watch other platform and play games. However, the business environment for live-streaming has changed this year, people use livestreaming for many other purposes, such as shopping and learning,” said Ping Xiaoli, general manager of Baidu App.

Shen Dou added that the development of livestreaming services will enrich Baidu’s content, as a result, boosting the company’s core internet search service.

With Baidu’s two core business of search and artificial intelligence, Baidu has competitive advantages to capitalize on the growing popularity of livestreaming, which has become an important medium for acquiring knowledge, entertainment and shopping, said Ping Xiaoli.

Baidu launched its short-video service called Haokan in November, 2017, but it has lagged behind its rivals including ByteDance’s Douyin and Kuaishou. As of April 30, Baidu’s Haokan has approximately 30 million daily active users.

In comparison, ByteDance’s Douyin had 296 million daily active users as of March 31, while Kuaishou had 214 million, according to data provider QuestMobile.

Livestreaming has been around for years in China , but until recently, the livestreaming sector has seen a spike in both revenue and online users amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Over the recent Lunar New Year period at the end of January, users on Douyin spent an average of 99 minutes on the app each day, compared to 67 minutes during the festive season last year, according to a report issued by QuestMobile in February.