Baidu is reportedly working on a major push into the music entertainment world including developing a music mobile app and several talent competition shows as part of a bigger initiative to capture user attention amid deceleration in its core businesses.

According to 36Kr, the company has formed a small special project team affiliated with Baidu’s content business group. The new team had originally planned to build a music video app similar to Douyin, Bytedance’s popular short video platform. However, this was later rejected internally with the aim to “make something bigger,” 36Kr cited a source as saying.

A reality TV competition is also on the agenda, with which Baidu seeks to achieve success like similar to “Singer,” a Hunan TV reality competition featuring professional singers, or “Produce 101,” a music talent show created by Tencent. The source said Baidu is more likely to outsource the production work given its inexperience in show business, though the project was currently in early stages of planning and could be changed.

A company representative declined to comment when contacted by TechNode.

Baidu was one of the very first tech giants in the country’s nascent online music market after it launched its music search service, Baidu MP3, in 2002. Over the next few years, the musical business achieved huge success, with some reports that it contributed up to a third of total traffic to the search engine. However, it faced harsh criticism from the music industry for allowing users to access a large number of tracks online and even download them for free.

Baidu launched its first copyrighted online music website Ting in 2011 amid tightened government scrutiny, though growth has been slow. According to Chinese research firm BigData-Research, Baidu was the sixth-largest music streaming platform 29.5 million monthly active users (MAU) while top music app QQ Music had 329.6 million, Tencent-owned Kugou had 303.7 million, and NetEase had 156.5 million as of February 2018. Baidu chose to ally with NetEase by investing an undisclosed sum in October, after NetEase Cloud Music began seeking independent financing in April 2017.

Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric cars. Connect with her via e-mail: or Twitter: @yushan_shen

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