(Yicai Global) May 15 -- Baidu Inc. is transferring its movie theater ticketing platform Nuomi Film to video streaming unit iQiyi Inc. so that it can focus efforts on the fast-growing artificial intelligence sector.
iQiyi will pay USD200 million for the ticketing site, which was once valued at nearly USD1 billion, resulting in a transfer of personnel and technical resources, reported Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s news outlet Yixian, adding that Beijing-based tech giant is yet to comment on the matter.
Baidu had been long-rumored to be looking to offload parts of its Nuomi business, which had been hemorrhaging money after its parent company focused more intensely on the AI sector.
The firm, most well-known for its dominant search engine, has adopted an AI strategy similar to Google-parent Alphabet Inc. covering consumer applications such as autonomous cars. Supported by the government’s ambitions to become a world-leader by 2030, China is leading the race to develop AI products globally. The country dominated AI funding last year with Chinese startups accounting for a little under half of all financing pumped into the sector globally in 2017, leveraging China’s vast market and well-established data infrastructure.
Nuomi Film is part of Baidu’s online to offline (O2O) group-buying unit Baidu Nuomi, a website wholly acquired by the tech giant in 2014. Baidu’s massive investments in its O2O business saw the firm’s valuation hit CNY6 billion (USD946.9 million) in 2016. However, Baidu’s business adjustments led to significant decline in valuation.
Editor: William Clegg