Baidu, one third of the digital Chinese behemoths that make up the BAT acronym (Alibaba and Tencent are the others), is set to invest $300 million into the film business through the Baidu Nuomi Pictures Fund. The announcement was made during the Shanghai Film Festival. It marks the latest in a series of buzzy announcements to come out of the fest, signifying once again just what a force the Middle Kingdom is becoming in the film business.
The fund will target commercial genres such as thrillers, animation and youth-oriented titles towards up to 30 film and TV productions. Baidu owns video streaming service iQiyi, which remains a loss making entity despite this week announcing it had 20 million paying subscribers. Baidu still has someway to go to catch up with Alibaba and Tencent. This week Alibaba Pictures unveiled an ambitious slate of 17 film and TV projects. Tencent execs are also on their own expansive spree, with recent deals including being part of a consortium of investors along with WME-IMG to launch a new China-based joint venture with the aim of accelerating the agency’s growth in the Middle Kingdom in its core fields of sports and entertainment. Tencent is also a part of a new TV venture with Tang Media, IM Global and Reliance.