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Chinese Web Giants Scramble for Stakes in Content Platforms

By Zhao Runhua / Aug 20, 2019 12:07 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

China’s internet giants seem to be scrambling for greater influence over the country’s most popular content websites and online communities.

Since June, Chinese internet behemoth Baidu has held a 9.38% stake in Guokr Inc., an internet content provider that operates the popular science website Guokr.com, according to public records. Sources at Baidu later confirmed the deal to Caixin.

The news illustrates how China’s major internet companies are incorporating hard-to-monetize content sites into their own ecosystems in a bid to circulate internet traffic through their own products and services.

Public records also show that information provider ByteDance recently invested in Wikipedia-like website Baike.com. Additionally, Baidu and short-video platform Kuaishou led a $434 million funding round in question-and-answer site Zhihu last week.

Guokr, whose name is a play on the Chinese word for “nutshell,” was launched in 2010 but later struggled to outcompete individual content providers who published similar content on WeChat and Chinese social media. In 2014, Caixin reported that Guokr had secured a $20 million investment to improve online education projects, including a digital open-course platform that has a partnership with global leader Coursera.

Contact reporter Zhao Runhua (runhuazhao@caixin.com)

Related: In Depth: Baidu Plays Catch Up on Mobile With Super App

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