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China’s Baidu to Invest $300 Million in Movies via Nuomi Fund

Baidu, China’s leading search engine group, is to invest a stated $305 million (RMB2 billion) in a slate of movies. The investment will be made through its Baidu Nuomi Pictures arm.

The announcement was made Thursday on the sidelines of the Shanghai International Film Festival.

Xu Yongming, president of Baidu Nuomi Pictures said that the company would use scientific and professional methods, as well as data from its massive web platforms, to assess projects. He said that the company is targeting 30 film and TV productions. Preferred genres include thrillers, youth-oriented projects and animation.

In related moves Nuomi, which started out as group buying service but has been widely expanded, said that it would set up another fund for corporate investments in content companies. It will also set up a new fan service platform Fensiquan.com.

Earlier this week, Baidu lowered its guidance to the investment community, warning that its medical advertising would weaken following recent regulatory issues. That news hit the company’s NASDAL-listed shares, but financial analysts are divided as to the long term impact.

The company has long been considered as one of China’s top three Internet groups – along with Alibaba and Tencent, to form the acronym BAT – but has a long way to keep pace with the speed of development of either of its two rivals.

Baidu is the majority owner of streaming video service iQIYI. The unit, which is heavily loss-making, this week announced that it had amassed 20 million paying subscribers.

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