Shares of iQiyi (IQ 1.18%) surged on Tuesday after news broke that Tencent (TCEHY 4.13%) is seeking to become the Chinese video streaming company's largest investor. By the close of trading, iQiyi's stock was up more than 25% after rising as much as 38% earlier in the day.
Chinese digital payments, gaming, and social media titan Tencent reportedly reached out to Baidu (BIDU 0.73%) -- which owns 56% of iQiyi's stock and controls nearly 93% of its voting power -- to purchase a portion of its shares. The talks are reportedly in a preliminary phase.
Should a deal come to fruition, it would combine two of China's leading streaming services. Like iQiyi, Tencent Video has more than 100 million subscribers.
Moreover, a combination would likely allow Tencent and iQiyi to lower their streaming cost structures, which could help to boost their profitability. "A tie-up would improve their bargaining power when producing and purchasing content, and lower marketing costs that would otherwise be spent on grabbing users from each other," a source with knowledge of the potential deal told Reuters.
The online video market in China -- and many other areas of the world -- is benefiting from a coronavirus-related acceleration in the stay-at-home trend. Streaming is already a $22 billion industry in China, according to iResearch, and it should only grow larger in the years ahead. Tencent wants to control the lion's share of this rapidly expanding market -- and it's apparently willing to make aggressive moves to do so.