Chinese internet group Baidu is setting up a $500-million growth-stage fund that will invest in internet and artificial intelligence (AI) technology startups, according to a report by Chinese news site The Paper.
The fund, dubbed Changcheng Investment Partners, will be an independent and market-oriented fund with average cheque amount ranging from $20 million to $30 million per investment, the report added.
Jennifer Li, CEO of Baidu Capital and former CFO of Baidu, will reportedly relinquish her post as Baidu Capital head to lead the new fund, the third such fund established by China’s search engine giant.
Baidu’s first growth-stage fund, Baidu Ventures, raised $200 million in 2016 to invest in AI-related early-stage projects. In the same year, Baidu Capital raised about $3 billion to invest in mid- and late-stage internet sector deals.
Baidu Ventures invests in seed, Series A, and Series B stages, primarily in companies based in China and the United States. Baidu Capital, on the other hand, invests mainly in mature projects in the Internet sector. Its portfolio companies include Singapore-based ride-hailing operator Grab and smart electric car maker NIO.
Recently, Baidu created one of China’s best-funded fintech companies after raising more than $1.9 billion for its newly spun-off financial services division from TPG, Carlyle Group, and other investors.
Baidu also delivered a solid first quarter performance, posting total revenues of Rmb20.9 billion ($3.33 billion), a 31 per cent increase from a year earlier. Online marketing revenues were Rmb17.2 billion ($2.74 billion), representing a 23 per cent increase year over year.
Baidu had approximately 475,000 active online marketing customers, representing a 5 per cent increase year over year.
“We had a strong start in 2018, with our core business exhibiting robust growth, and we continue to execute on our strategy to strengthen Baidu’s mobile foundation and lead in AI,” said Robin Li, Chairman and CEO of Baidu, in a press statement.