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Baidu May Seek Initial Public Offering for IQiyi Video Website

Baidu Inc., China’s largest search engine, may seek an initial public offering of its video site as it taps into rising demand for online content.

“When the market is good, when the company is ready, we will look for IPO opportunities,” Li Yipeng, vice president of iQiyi, told the Chinict technology industry conference in Beijing today. Baidu doesn’t currently have a timetable for a share sale, he said.

Baidu Chief Executive Officer Robin Li is seeking a greater share of advertising sales from online content. Revenue in China from Internet videos is projected to rise to 16.2 billion yuan ($2.6 billion) in 2014 from 1.36 billion yuan in 2009, according to iResearch, a Shanghai-based Internet consulting company.

Baidu bolstered the unit this month by agreeing to buy PPS Net TV’s Internet video business for $370 million. That purchase will make iQiyi the largest mobile platform for such content in China, Li Yipeng said today.

The iQiyi unit will do more in-house video production to lower costs as it seeks to achieve profitability, Li Yipeng said.

“We don’t have very much bargaining power when we buy content,” Li said. “Content is expensive in China. For us to achieve profitability, we need to have different types of content.”

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