A live show award ceremony held by iQiyi in Shanghai, Jan 14, 2017. [Photo/VCG]
China's leading search engine Baidu said on Tuesday that it has raised $1.5 billion (10.5 billion yuan) to bankroll its video-streaming platform iQiyi.com amid increasing competition.
Baidu invested $300 million as part of a convertible bond issuance. Other investors include Hillhouse Capital, Boyu Capital, IDG Capital and Sequoia Capital China, the company said.
"iQiyi has been a quality asset and an important part of our ecosystem," Baidu chief executive Robin Li Yanhong said in a statement. "With continuous support, Baidu will empower it with artificial intelligence technologies in the future."
According to the company, iQiyi had 481 million monthly active end users as of December 2016, with an above-average growth rate.
The funding comes as video streaming has become hotly contested in China. The country's biggest internet companies including the trilogy known as BAT, namely Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, have either set up or backed major players.