Baidu announces strategic investment into elevator ad company

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Baidu has announced a strategic investment in Xinchao Media, a media company that specializes in elevator ads, according to the company’s post on Bai Jiahao (in Chinese). While Baidu did not disclose the size of the new investment, other reports suggest Xinchao Media’s latest financing round led by Baidu was totaled RMB 2.1 billion and Huaxing Capital was the exclusive financial advisor on the deal.

Forming a strategic partnership with Xinchao Media is part of Baidu’s offline advertising push.

“In the age of AI, market environment along with the development of technology is pushing and renewing the vigor of offline advertising,” the Chinese search engine giant said in the post. On one hand, the growth of mobile devices and the growth of online traffic are slowing. On the other hand, the new-found potential of offline advertising is tremendous. As technology advances and the cost of display screens drops, digital outdoor ads consumption is growing at a rapid pace.

Their new advertising platform—Baidu Juping (百度聚屏)—that focuses on offline digital ads connects advertisers with media such as digital ads on public transportations, in buildings and convenient stores, or even smartphone—a multi-screen approach that aims to optimize touch point effectiveness and realize online and offline integration, according to Baidu.

The company claimed Baidu Juping now covers 31 provinces in China and has a reach of 300 million people.

Under the strategic partnership, Xinchao Media’s offline smart hardware will be integrated with Baidu’s online data to better provide customers with more precise advertising plan. As a part of Baidu’s media alliance, the company now has access to Baidu’s AI  and big data resources.

Established in Chengdu in 2007, Xinchao Media became the city’s first unicorn in 2017 with an estimated value of $1.5 billion. The company said it provides more accurate and cheaper media traffic using smart hardware and software. According to recent data provided by the company, it now covers more than 100 cities in China with a reach of 200 million.