iq-20f_20181231.htm

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 20-F

(Mark One)

REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR 12(g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

OR

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018.

OR

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

OR

SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

Date of event requiring this shell company report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

For the transition period from                       to      

Commission file number: 001-38431

iQIYI, Inc.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)

 

N/A

(Translation of Registrant’s name into English)

.

Cayman Islands

(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

 

9/F, iQIYI Innovation Building

No. 2 Haidian North First Street, Haidian District

Beijing 100080, People’s Republic of China

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

Xiaodong Wang, Chief Financial Officer

E-mail: wangxiaodong@qiyi.com

9/F, iQIYI Innovation Building

No. 2 Haidian North First Street, Haidian District

Beijing 100080, People’s Republic of China

Telephone: +86 10-6267-7171

(Name, Telephone, E-mail and/or Facsimile number and Address of Company Contact Person)

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

American Depositary Shares, each

representing seven Class A ordinary shares,

par value US$0.00001 per share

 

Nasdaq Global Market

Class A ordinary shares,

par value US$0.00001 per share*

 

Nasdaq Global Market

 

 

(1)

*Not for trading, but only in connection with the listing on the Nasdaq Global Market of our American depositary shares, each representing seven Class A ordinary shares.

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

 

None

(Title of Class)

Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act:

 

None

(Title of Class)

 

Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report.

As of December 31, 2018, there were 5,075,817,301 ordinary shares outstanding, being the sum of 2,199,425,905 Class A ordinary shares (excluding 381,524,626 Class A ordinary shares issued to our depositary bank for bulk issuance of ADSs reserved for future issuances upon the exercise or vesting of awards under our share incentive plans) and 2,876,391,396 Class B ordinary shares.

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes   No

If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Yes   No

Note – Checking the box above will not relieve any registrant required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 from their obligations under those Sections.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days .Yes    No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes    No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or an emerging growth company. See definition of “accelerated filer and large accelerated filer” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act:

 

Large accelerated filer

 

Accelerated filer

 

Non-accelerated filer

 

Emerging growth company 

 

If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards† provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.

 

†The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.

 

Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has been to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:

 

U.S. GAAP

 

International Financial Reporting Standards as issued

 

Other

 

 

by the International Accounting Standards Board

 

 

 

If “other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow. Item 17    Item 18

 

If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes   No

 

(APPLICABLE ONLY TO ISSUERS INVOLVED IN BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDINGS DURING THE PAST FIVE YEARS)

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed all documents and reports required to be filed by Sections 12, 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 subsequent to the distribution of securities under a plan confirmed by a court. Yes    No

 

 

 

 


 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

INTRODUCTION

2

FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION

3

PART I.

4

 

ITEM 1.

 

IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

4

 

ITEM 2.

 

OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

4

 

ITEM 3.

 

KEY INFORMATION

5

 

ITEM 4.

 

INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

37

 

ITEM 4.A.

 

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

61

 

ITEM 5.

 

OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS

61

 

ITEM 6.

 

DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEES

81

 

ITEM 7.

 

MAJOR SHAREHOLDERS AND RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS

90

 

ITEM 8.

 

FINANCIAL INFORMATION

93

 

ITEM 9.

 

THE OFFER AND LISTING

94

 

ITEM 10.

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

95

 

ITEM 11.

 

QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

103

 

ITEM 12.

 

DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES OTHER THAN EQUITY SECURITIES

104

PART II.

106

 

ITEM 13.

 

DEFAULTS, DIVIDEND ARREARAGES AND DELINQUENCIES

106

 

ITEM 14.

 

MATERIAL MODIFICATIONS TO THE RIGHTS OF SECURITY HOLDERS AND USE OF PROCEEDS

106

 

ITEM 15.

 

CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

106

 

ITEM 16.A.

 

AUDIT COMMITTEE FINANCIAL EXPERT

107

 

ITEM 16.B.

 

CODE OF ETHICS

107

 

ITEM 16.C.

 

PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTANT FEES AND SERVICES

107

 

ITEM 16.D.

 

EXEMPTIONS FROM THE LISTING STANDARDS FOR AUDIT COMMITTEES

107

 

ITEM 16.E.

 

PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES BY THE ISSUER AND AFFILIATED PURCHASERS

107

 

ITEM 16.F.

 

CHANGE IN REGISTRANT’S CERTIFYING ACCOUNTANT

107

 

ITEM 16.G.

 

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

108

 

ITEM 16.H.

 

MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURE

108

PART III.

108

 

ITEM 17.

 

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

108

 

ITEM 18. 

 

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

108

 

ITEM 19.

 

EXHIBITS

108

 

 

 

i


Table of Contents

 

INTRODUCTION

Unless otherwise indicated and except where the context otherwise requires, references in this annual report to:

 

“ACGN” refers to anime, comic, games and light novels;

 

“ADSs” refers to our American depositary shares, each of which represents seven Class A ordinary shares;

 

“AI” refers to artificial intelligence;

 

“Baidu” refers to Baidu, Inc., our parent company and controlling shareholder;

 

“China” or “PRC” refers to the People’s Republic of China, excluding, for the purpose of this annual report only, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau;

 

“IP” refers to intellectual property;

 

“IT” refers to information technology;

 

“mobile DAUs,” for our iQIYI platform, refers to the number of unique mobile devices that have accessed our platform through our iQIYI mobile app at least once during a day. Our mobile DAUs are calculated using internal company data that has not been independently verified, and we treat each distinguishable device as a separate user for purposes of calculating mobile DAUs, although it is possible that some people may use more than one mobile device and multiple people may share one mobile device to access our platform;

 

“mobile MAUs,” for our iQIYI platform, refers to the number of unique mobile devices that have accessed our platform through our iQIYI mobile app at least once during a month. Our mobile MAUs are calculated using internal company data that has not been independently verified, and we treat each distinguishable device as a separate user for purposes of calculating mobile MAUs, although it is possible that some people may use more than one mobile device and multiple people may share one mobile device to access our platform;

 

“RMB” and “Renminbi” refer to the legal currency of China;

 

“shares” or “ordinary shares” refers to our Class A and Class B ordinary shares, par value $0.00001 per share;

 

“subscribing members,” refers to the individuals who purchased our monthly, quarterly or annual membership packages, including individuals with trial membership, and excluding individuals who pay for video on-demand services, sports paid content, online literature, comics and online games;

 

“total user time spent,” for our iQIYI platform, refers to the cumulative amount of time our video content is played through PC, mobile and smart TV devices during a given period of time;

 

“US$,” “U.S. dollars,” “$,” and “dollars” refer to the legal currency of the United States;

 

“video views” refers to the number of times a video is launched on our platform, regardless of time spent viewing the video;

 

“WAP” refers to wireless application protocol; and

 

“we,” “us,” “our company” and “our” refer to iQIYI, Inc., a Cayman Islands company, and its subsidiaries, and, in the context of describing our operations and combined and consolidated financial information, also include its consolidated affiliated entities in the PRC.

We present our financial results in RMB. We make no representation that any RMB or U.S. dollar amounts could have been, or could be, converted into U.S. dollars or RMB, as the case may be, at any particular rate, or at all. The PRC government imposes control over its foreign currency reserves in part through direct regulation of the conversion of RMB into foreign exchange and through restrictions on foreign trade. This annual report contains translations of certain foreign currency amounts into U.S. dollars for the convenience of the reader. Unless otherwise stated, all translations of Renminbi into U.S. dollars were made at the rate at RMB6.8755 to US$1.00, the exchange rate as set forth in the H.10 statistical release of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in effect as of December 31, 2018.

2


Table of Contents

 

FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION

This annual report contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. These statements are made under the “safe harbor” provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigations Reform Act of 1995.

You can identify these forward-looking statements by words or phrases such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “aim,” “estimate,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” “likely to” or other similar expressions. We have based these forward-looking statements largely on our current expectations and projections about future events and financial trends that we believe may affect our financial condition, results of operations, business strategy and financial needs. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements about:

 

our goals and strategies;

 

our ability to retain and increase the number of users, members and advertising customers, and expand our service offerings;

 

our future business development, financial condition and results of operations;

 

expected changes in our revenues, costs or expenditures;

 

competition in our industry;

 

relevant government policies and regulations relating to our industry;

 

general economic and business conditions globally and in China; and

 

assumptions underlying or related to any of the foregoing.

You should read this annual report and the documents that we refer to in this annual report and have filed as exhibits to this annual report completely and with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from what we expect. Other sections of this annual report discuss factors which could adversely impact our business and financial performance. Moreover, we operate in an evolving environment. New risk factors emerge from time to time and it is not possible for our management to predict all risk factors, nor can we assess the impact of all factors on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. We qualify all of our forward-looking statements by these cautionary statements. 

You should not rely upon forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. The forward-looking statements made in this annual report relate only to events or information as of the date on which the statements are made in this annual report. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date on which the statements are made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.


3


Table of Contents

 

PART I.

ITEM 1.

IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

Not applicable.

ITEM 2.

OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

Not applicable.

4


Table of Contents

 

ITEM 3.

KEY INFORMATION

A.

Selected Financial Data

Selected Consolidated Financial Data

The following selected consolidated statements of comprehensive loss data for the years ended December 31, 2016, 2017 and 2018 and selected consolidated balance sheet data as of December 31, 2017 and 2018 and selected consolidated cash flows data for the years ended December 31, 2016, 2017 and 2018 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included in this annual report beginning on page F-1. The following selected consolidated statement of comprehensive loss data for the year ended December 31, 2015, selected consolidated balance sheet data as of December 31, 2015 and 2016 and selected consolidated cash flow data for the year ended December 31, 2015 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements not included in this annual report. We have not included financial information for the year ended December 31, 2014, as such information cannot be provided on a stand-alone and U.S. GAAP basis without unreasonable effort or expense. Our historical results for any period are not necessarily indicative of results to be expected for any future period. The selected consolidated financial data should be read in conjunction with, and are qualified in their entirety by reference to, our audited consolidated financial statements and related notes and “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects” below. Our consolidated financial statements are prepared and presented in accordance with U.S. GAAP. Starting from January 1, 2018, we adopted a new revenue accounting standard ASC topic 606 (“ASC 606”), Revenue from Contracts with Customers, which reclassifies value added taxes (“VAT”) from cost of revenues to net against revenues among other changes. The consolidated statements of comprehensive loss data for the year ended December 31, 2018 presented below have been prepared in accordance with ASC 606 and is net of VAT of RMB1,457.8 million (US$212.0 million), while the consolidated statements of comprehensive loss data for the years ended December 31, 2016 and 2017 presented below have been prepared in accordance with the legacy revenue accounting standard ASC topic 605 (“ASC 605”), Revenue Recognition, and, unlike the consolidated statement of comprehensive loss data for the year ended December 31, 2018, is not net of VAT of RMB630.8 million and RMB981.6 million, respectively.

 

 

 

For the year ended December 31,

 

 

 

2015(1)

 

 

2016(1)

 

 

2017(1)

 

 

2018

 

 

 

RMB

 

 

RMB

 

 

RMB

 

 

RMB

 

 

US$

 

 

 

(in thousands, except for share and per share data)

 

Selected Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive

   Loss Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total revenues

 

 

5,318,584

 

 

 

11,237,407

 

 

 

17,378,350

 

 

 

24,989,116

 

 

 

3,634,516

 

Operating costs and expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cost of revenues(2)

 

 

(6,041,764

)

 

 

(11,436,595

)

 

 

(17,386,563

)

 

 

(27,132,811

)

 

 

(3,946,304

)

Selling, general and administrative(2)

 

 

(1,204,464

)

 

 

(1,765,824

)

 

 

(2,674,990

)

 

 

(4,167,889

)

 

 

(606,194

)

Research and development(2)

 

 

(499,957

)

 

 

(824,482

)

 

 

(1,269,806

)

 

 

(1,994,652

)

 

 

(290,110

)

Total operating costs and expenses

 

 

(7,746,185

)

 

 

(14,026,901

)

 

 

(21,331,359

)

 

 

(33,295,352

)

 

 

(4,842,608

)

Operating loss

 

 

(2,427,601

)

 

 

(2,789,494

)

 

 

(3,953,009

)

 

 

(8,306,236

)

 

 

(1,208,092

)

Total other (expenses)/income, net

 

 

(136,345

)

 

 

(271,440

)

 

 

208,512

 

 

 

(676,194

)

 

 

(98,347

)

Loss before income taxes

 

 

(2,563,946

)

 

 

(3,060,934

)

 

 

(3,744,497

)

 

 

(8,982,430

)

 

 

(1,306,439

)

Income tax (expense)/benefit

 

 

(11,166

)

 

 

(13,088

)

 

 

7,565

 

 

 

(78,801

)

 

 

(11,461

)

Net loss

 

 

(2,575,112

)

 

 

(3,074,022

)

 

 

(3,736,932

)

 

 

(9,061,231

)

 

 

(1,317,900

)

Less: Net income attributed to non-controlling interests

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

48,545

 

 

 

7,061

 

Accretion of redeemable convertible preferred shares

 

 

(2,342,385

)

 

 

(4,874,739

)

 

 

5,073,140

 

 

 

(298,990

)

 

 

(43,486

)

Extinguishment and reissuance of Series B preferred shares

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(363,279

)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net (loss)/income attributable to ordinary shareholders

 

 

(4,917,497

)

 

 

(7,948,761

)

 

 

972,929

 

 

 

(9,408,766

)

 

 

(1,368,447

)

Net (loss)/earnings per ordinary share:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

 

(14.36

)

 

 

(23.20

)

 

 

0.30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diluted

 

 

(14.36

)

 

 

(23.20

)

 

 

(1.15

)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net loss per Class A and Class B ordinary share(3):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(2.43

)

 

 

(0.35

)

Diluted

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(2.43

)

 

 

(0.35

)

Net loss per ADS:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(17.01

)

 

 

(2.45

)

Diluted

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(17.01

)

 

 

(2.45

)

Shares used in net (loss)/ earnings per ordinary share

   computation:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

 

342,548,237

 

 

 

342,548,237

 

 

 

342,548,237

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diluted

 

 

342,548,237

 

 

 

342,548,237

 

 

 

3,243,147,261

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shares used in net (loss)/ earnings per Class A and

   Class B ordinary share computation:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3,867,931,786

 

 

 

3,867,931,786

 

Diluted

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3,867,931,786

 

 

 

3,867,931,786

 

 

Notes:

(1)

In accordance with the legacy revenue accounting standard (ASC 605), VAT is presented in cost of revenues rather than net against revenues.

(2)

Share-based compensation expenses were allocated in operating costs and expenses as follows:

5


Table of Contents

 

 

 

 

For the year ended December 31,

 

 

 

2015

 

 

2016

 

 

2017

 

 

2018

 

 

 

RMB

 

 

RMB

 

 

RMB

 

 

RMB

 

 

US$

 

 

 

(in thousands)

 

Cost of revenues

 

 

5,837

 

 

 

9,479

 

 

 

34,895

 

 

 

83,351

 

 

 

12,123

 

Selling, general and administrative

 

 

21,330

 

 

 

30,447

 

 

 

130,994

 

 

 

368,598

 

 

 

53,610

 

Research and development

 

 

17,027

 

 

 

22,466

 

 

 

67,535

 

 

 

104,262

 

 

 

15,164

 

Total

 

 

44,194

 

 

 

62,392

 

 

 

233,424

 

 

 

556,211

 

 

 

80,897

 

 

(3)

Our ordinary shares are comprised of Class A ordinary shares and Class B ordinary shares. Each holder of Class A ordinary shares is entitled to one vote per share and each holder of Class B ordinary shares is entitled to ten votes per share on all matters submitted to them for a vote. Class B ordinary shares are convertible at any time by the holder thereof into Class A ordinary shares on a one-for-one basis. As holders of Class A and Class B ordinary shares have the same dividend right and the same participation right in our undistributed earnings, the basic and diluted income (loss) per Class A ordinary share and Class B ordinary share are the same for all the periods presented during which there were two classes of ordinary shares.

The following table presents our selected consolidated balance sheet data as of the dates indicated.

 

 

 

As of December 31,

 

 

 

2015

 

 

2016

 

 

2017

 

 

2018

 

 

 

RMB

 

 

RMB

 

 

RMB

 

 

RMB

 

 

US$

 

 

 

(in thousands)

 

Selected Consolidated Balance Sheet Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents

 

 

1,588,739

 

 

 

964,207

 

 

 

733,010

 

 

 

4,586,405

 

 

 

667,065

 

Restricted cash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2,174,042

 

 

 

316,201

 

Short-term investments

 

 

160,000

 

 

 

902,978

 

 

 

779,916

 

 

 

6,061,832

 

 

 

881,657

 

Total current assets

 

 

4,473,910

 

 

 

5,154,305

 

 

 

5,700,528

 

 

 

19,853,443

 

 

 

2,887,563

 

Total assets

 

 

10,424,986

 

 

 

13,631,636

 

 

 

20,200,899

 

 

 

44,759,698

 

 

 

6,510,027

 

Total current liabilities

 

 

5,862,949

 

 

 

11,889,853

 

 

 

11,625,612

 

 

 

19,812,356

 

 

 

2,881,587

 

Total liabilities

 

 

5,877,095

 

 

 

11,897,142

 

 

 

11,918,299

 

 

 

26,604,135

 

 

 

3,869,410

 

Total mezzanine equity

 

 

12,164,428

 

 

 

17,039,167

 

 

 

22,601,664

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total shareholders’ (deficit)/equity

 

 

(7,616,537

)

 

 

(15,304,673

)

 

 

(14,319,064

)

 

 

18,155,563

 

 

 

2,640,617

 

 

The following table presents our selected consolidated cash flow data for the years indicated.

 

 

 

For the year ended December 31,

 

 

 

2015

 

 

2016

 

 

2017

 

 

2018

 

 

 

RMB

 

 

RMB

 

 

RMB

 

 

RMB

 

 

US$

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(in thousands)

 

Selected Consolidated Cash Flow Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net cash provided by operating activities

 

 

1,070,770

 

 

 

2,612,121

 

 

 

4,011,784

 

 

 

2,884,186

 

 

 

419,489

 

Net cash used for investing activities

 

 

(3,133,375

)

 

 

(6,663,100

)

 

 

(10,660,674

)

 

 

(20,949,094

)

 

 

(3,046,918

)

Net cash (used in)/provided by financing activities

 

 

(131,708

)

 

 

3,411,766

 

 

 

6,561,110

 

 

 

23,474,959

 

 

 

3,414,292

 

Effect of exchange rate changes on cash, cash equivalents

   and restricted cash

 

 

71,951

 

 

 

14,681

 

 

 

(143,417

)

 

 

617,386

 

 

 

89,791

 

Net (decrease)/increase in cash, cash equivalents and

   restricted cash

 

 

(2,122,362

)

 

 

(624,532

)

 

 

(231,197

)

 

 

6,027,437

 

 

 

876,654

 

Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash at the beginning

   of the period

 

 

3,711,101

 

 

 

1,588,739

 

 

 

964,207

 

 

 

733,010

 

 

 

106,612

 

Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash at the end of

   the period

 

 

1,588,739

 

 

 

964,207

 

 

 

733,010

 

 

 

6,760,447

 

 

 

983,266

 

 

B.

Capitalization and Indebtedness

Not Applicable.

C.

Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds

Not Applicable.

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D.

Risk Factors

Risks Related to Our Business and Industry

We have incurred net losses since our inception and may continue to incur losses in the future.

We incurred net losses since our inception, including net losses in the amount of RMB3.1 billion, RMB3.7 billion, and RMB9.1 billion (US$1.3 billion) in 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively, primarily due to significant content and bandwidth costs. Between 2017 and 2018, our net margin deteriorated from negative 22.8% to negative 36.3%, which was the net margin after the deduction of value added-taxes in 2017 total revenues resulting from the adoption of ASC 606. Our ability to achieve profitability is affected by various factors, many of which are beyond our control. For example, our revenues depend on the increased number of subscribing members and advertising customers’ allocation of more budget to internet video streaming platforms. In addition, our users’ willingness to pay and subscribe to our content depends on the quality and breadth of our content offerings and availability of alternative entertainment content offerings. The production and procurement of content, as well as bandwidth, have historically accounted for the majority of our cost of revenues. We expect our costs to increase on an absolute basis as traffic to our platform grows, users of our platform increase, the resolution of our videos increases and as we produce and acquire more content to enrich user experience. Producing high-quality, popular original content is costly and time-consuming and it will typically take a long period of time to realize returns on investment, if at all. The market prices for professionally-produced content, especially popular TV series and movies, have increased significantly in China during the past few years and may continue to increase in the foreseeable future. Between 2017 and 2018, our cost of revenues increased significantly by 56.1% from RMB17.4 billion to RMB27.1 billion (US$3.9 billion), outpacing the growth rate of our total revenues. If we cannot successfully offset our increased costs with a significant increase in total revenues, our financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected. We may continue to incur net losses in the foreseeable future due to our continued investments in content and technology. We may also continue to incur net losses in the foreseeable future due to changes in the macroeconomic and regulatory environment, competitive dynamics and our inability to respond to these changes in a timely and effective manner. It is not possible for us to accurately predict when we will be able to achieve profitability.

If we fail to anticipate user preferences and provide high-quality content, especially popular original content, in a cost-effective manner, we may not be able to attract and retain users to remain competitive.

Our success depends on our ability to maintain and grow user time spent on our platform. To attract and retain users and compete against our competitors, we must continue to offer high-quality content, especially popular original content, in a cost effective manner, which provides our users with a superior online entertainment experience. To this end, we must continue to produce new original content and source new professionally produced or partner-generated and user-generated content in a cost effective manner. Given that we operate in a rapidly evolving industry, we need to anticipate user preferences and industry changes and respond to such changes in a timely and effective manner. If we fail to cater to the needs and preferences of our users, control our costs in doing so or fail to deliver superior user experience, we may suffer from reduced user traffic, and our business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected. Various phases of our original content production are outsourced to our content production partners. If they fail to generate quality content satisfactory to our demands or provide services upon terms commercially acceptable to us, we may be unable to provide high-quality original content offerings to our users.

We rely on our in-house team to generate creative ideas for original content and to supervise the original content origination and production process, and we intend to continue to invest resources in content production. We face fierce competition for qualified personnel in a limited pool of high-quality creative talent. Our competitors include well-capitalized companies that are capable of offering compensation packages more attractive to talents. If we are not able to compete effectively for talents or attract and retain top talents at reasonable costs, our original content production capabilities would be negatively impacted. Any deterioration in our in-house content production capability, inability to attract creative talents at reasonable costs or losses in personnel may materially and adversely affect our business and operating results. If we are unable to offer popular original content that meets user tastes and preferences in a cost effective manner, our user experience may be adversely affected, we may suffer from reduced user traffic and our business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

If we fail to procure content from content providers upon terms acceptable to us, our business may be materially and adversely affected.

Our ability to provide our users with high-quality, popular content depends in part on our ability to procure content from studios and other content providers, as well as distributors and other licensors of content. We typically enter into license and sub-license agreements with third-party content providers and other IP holders. The license periods and the terms and conditions of such licenses vary. If content providers and other rights holders are no longer willing or able to license content to us upon terms acceptable to us, or, in the case where we obtained the right to distribute content through sub-license agreements, if the licensors lose their right to sub-license such content to us, our ability to offer content to our users will be adversely affected and/or our cost could further increase. For content sub-licensed and currently being showcased on our platform, we may be forced to remove such content as a result of our

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licensor’s disputes with the original content provider, which may result in loss of user traffic and revenues. If we fail to remove such content in a timely manner, we may become the subject of adverse legal actions from the original content provider. As competition intensifies, we may see the cost of licensed content increase. As we seek to differentiate our service, we are increasingly focused on securing rights other than merely distribution and online streaming rights. We also acquire other forms of copyright such as rights to adapt the original content into online games, films, drama series, animation and other entertainment formats. We focus on offering an overall mix of content that appeals to our users in a cost efficient manner. If we do not maintain a compelling mix of content, our user acquisition and retention may be adversely affected.

If our efforts to retain members and attract new members are not successful, our business and results of operations will be materially and adversely affected.

We have experienced significant membership growth over the past several years. Our ability to continue to retain members and attract new members will depend in part on our ability to consistently provide our members with compelling content choices, as well as a quality experience for selecting and viewing video content. Furthermore, the relative service levels, content offerings, pricing and related features of competitors may adversely impact our ability to attract and retain members. If we introduce new or adjust existing features, adjust pricing or service offerings, or change the mix of content in a manner that is not favorably received by our members, we may not be able to attract and retain members. Many of our members originate from organic growth. If our efforts to satisfy our existing members are not successful, we may not be able to attract new members, and as a result, our ability to maintain and/or grow our membership revenues will be adversely affected. Members may cancel or decide not to renew our service for many reasons, including a perception that they do not use the service sufficiently, payment inconveniences, the need to cut household expenses, availability of content is unsatisfactory, competitive services provide a better value or experience and customer service issues are not satisfactorily resolved. We must retain existing members and continually attract new members to increase our membership base. If we are unable to successfully compete with current and new competitors in both retaining our existing members and attracting new members, our business will be adversely affected. Further, if an excessive number of members cancel or opt not to renew our service, we may be required to incur significantly higher marketing expenditures to attract new members than we currently anticipate.

If we fail to retain existing or attract new advertising customers to advertise on our platform, maintain and increase our wallet share of advertising budget or if we are unable to collect accounts receivable in a timely manner, our financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

We generated a substantial part of our revenues from online advertising. Although online advertising revenue as a percentage of our total revenues has decreased recently, online advertising remains one of our largest sources of revenue. We cannot assure you that we will be able to retain our advertising customers in the future, attract new advertising customers continuously or be able to retain our advertising customers at all. If our advertising customers find that they can generate better returns elsewhere, or if our competitors provide better online advertising services to suit our advertising customers’ goals, we may lose our advertising customers. We experienced a deceleration in the growth of our online advertising revenue, net of VAT, between 2017 and 2018, which saw such revenue increase by 21.2%. This is compared to a growth rate in online advertising revenue of 44.4% between 2016 and 2017. In addition, third parties may develop and use certain technologies to block the display, and our members are able to skip the viewing, of our advertising customers’ advertisements on our platform, which may in turn cause us to lose advertising customers and adversely affect our results of operations. If our advertising customers determine that their expenditures on internet video streaming platforms do not generate expected returns, they may allocate a portion or all of their advertising budgets to other advertising channels such as television, newspapers and magazines or other internet channels such as e-commerce and social media platforms, and reduce or discontinue business with us. Since most of our advertising customers are not bound by long-term contracts, they may lessen or discontinue advertising arrangements with us easily without incurring material liabilities. Failure to retain existing advertising customers or attract new advertising customers to advertise on our platform may materially and adversely affect our financial conditions and results of operations. We may continue to experience deceleration in the growth of our online advertising business, and we cannot assure you that we will be able to resume our historical growth in online advertising revenue.

Our brand advertising customers typically enter into online advertising agreements with us through various third-party advertising agencies. In China’s advertising industry, advertising agencies typically have good relationships and maintain longer periods of cooperation with the brand advertising customers they represent. In addition to entering into advertising contracts directly with advertising customers, we also enter into advertising contracts with third-party advertising agencies, which represent advertising customers, even if we have direct contact with such advertisers. As a result, we rely on third-party advertising agencies for sales to, and collection of payment from, our brand advertisers. In consideration for the third-party advertising agencies’ services, we offer them rebates based on the volume of business they bring to us. The financial soundness of our advertising customers and advertising agencies may affect our collection of accounts receivable. We make a credit assessment of our advertising customers and advertising agencies to evaluate the collectability of the advertising service fees before entering into an advertising contract. However, we cannot assure you that we are or will be able to accurately assess the creditworthiness of each advertising customer or advertising agency, and any inability of advertising customers or advertising agencies to pay us in a timely manner may adversely affect our liquidity and cash

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flows. In addition, there has been some consolidation among China’s advertising agencies. If this trend continues, a small number of large advertising agencies may be in a position to demand higher rebate for advertising agency services, which could reduce our online advertising revenue.

In addition, we do not have long-term cooperation agreements or exclusive arrangements with third-party advertising agencies and they may elect to direct business opportunities to other advertising service providers, including our competitors. If we fail to retain and enhance the business relationships with third-party advertising agencies, we may suffer from a loss of advertising customers and our financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

We operate in a capital intensive industry and require a significant amount of cash to fund our operations, content acquisitions and technology investments. If we cannot obtain sufficient capital, our business, financial condition and prospects may be materially and adversely affected.

The operation of an internet video streaming platform requires significant and continuous investment in content and technology. Producing high-quality original content is costly and time-consuming and it will typically take a long period of time to realize returns on investment, if at all. To date, we have financed our operations primarily with net cash generated from operating activities, as well as financing activities such as placements of preferred shares, convertible notes and asset-based securities, the substantial financial support from Baidu, and the proceeds from our initial public offering. As of December 31, 2018, we had an outstanding loan balance of RMB700.0 million (US$101.8 million) to Baidu. In order to implement our growth strategies, we will incur additional capital in the future to cover, among others, costs to produce and license content. We may need to obtain additional financing, including equity offerings or debt financing, to fund the operation and expansion of business. Our ability to obtain additional financing in the future, however, is subject to a number of uncertainties, including those relating to:

 

our future business development, financial condition and results of operations;

 

general market conditions for financing activities by companies in our industry;

 

macro-economic and other conditions in China and elsewhere; and

 

our relationship with Baidu.

As a public company with a growing business, we expect to increasingly rely on net cash provided by operating activities, financing through capital markets and commercial banks for our liquidity needs. However, we cannot assure you that we will be successful in our efforts to further diversify our sources of liquidity and obtain financing. If we cannot obtain sufficient capital to meet our capital needs, we may not be able to execute our growth strategies and our business, financial condition and prospects may be materially and adversely affected.

The success of our business depends on our ability to maintain and enhance our brand.

We believe that maintaining and enhancing our iQIYI brand is of significant importance to the success of our business. Our well-recognized brand is critical to increasing our user base and, in turn, expanding our membership base and attractiveness to advertising customers and content providers. Since the internet video industry is highly competitive, maintaining and enhancing our brand depends largely on our ability to remain the market leader in China, which may be difficult and expensive. To the extent our content, in particular, our original content, is perceived as low quality or otherwise not appealing to users, our ability to maintain and enhance our brand may be adversely impacted.

We may be the subject of detrimental conduct by third parties, including complaints to regulatory agencies and the public dissemination of malicious assessments of our business, which could have a negative impact on our reputation and cause us to lose market share, users, advertisers and revenues, and adversely affect the price of our ADSs.

We have been, and in the future may be, the target of anti-competitive, harassing or other detrimental conduct by third parties. Such conduct may include complaints, anonymous or otherwise, to regulatory agencies regarding our operations, accounting, revenues, business relationships, business prospects and business ethics. Additionally, allegations and other negative publicity, directly or indirectly against us, may be posted online or otherwise generally disseminated by anyone, whether or not related to us. We may be subject to regulatory investigations, lawsuits or public perception backlash as a result of such third-party conduct and may be required to expend significant time and incur substantial costs to address such third-party conduct, and there is no assurance that we will be able to conclusively refute each of the allegations within a reasonable period of time, or at all. Our reputation may also be negatively affected as a result of the public dissemination of anonymous allegations or malicious statements about our business, which in turn may cause us to lose market share, users, advertisers and revenues, and adversely affect the price of our ADSs.

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Increases in market price of professionally-produced content, or PPC, may have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

PPC constitutes a significant part of our content offerings. The market prices for PPC, especially TV series and movies, have increased significantly in China during the past few years. Due to the improving monetization prospects, internet video streaming platforms are generating more revenues and are competing aggressively to license popular content titles, which have in turn led to increases in licensing fees of PPC in general. As the market further grows, the expectations of copyright owners, distributors and industry participants may continue to rise, and as such they may demand higher licensing fees for PPC. Furthermore, with the expansion of our content library, we expect the costs for PPC to continue to increase. If we are unable to generate sufficient revenues to outpace the increase in market prices for PPC, we may incur more losses and our business, financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected.

We operate in a highly competitive market and we may not be able to compete effectively.

We face significant competition in China, primarily from Tencent Video and Youku Tudou. We compete for users, usage time and advertising customers. Some of our competitors have a longer operating history and significantly greater financial resources than we do, and, in turn, may be able to attract and retain more users, usage time and advertising customers. Our competitors may compete with us in a variety of ways, including by obtaining IP rights to popular content, conducting brand promotions and other marketing activities, and making investments in and acquisitions of our business partners. In addition, certain internet video platforms may continue to derive their revenues from providing content that infringes third-party copyright and may not monitor their platforms for any such infringing content. As a result, we may be placed at a disadvantage to some of these companies that do not incur similar costs as we do with respect to content production, acquisition and monitoring. If any of our competitors achieves greater market acceptance than we do or is able to offer more attractive internet video content, our user traffic and our market share may decrease, which may result in a loss of advertising customers and members, as well as have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We face competition from traditional media such as major TV stations, which are increasing their internet video offerings. Most large companies in China allocate, and will likely continue to allocate, a significant portion of their advertising budgets to traditional media, particularly major TV stations. We also face competition for users and user time from other internet media and entertainment services, such as internet and social platforms that offer content in emerging and innovative media formats.

The continued and collaborative efforts of our senior management and key employees are crucial to our success, and our business may be harmed if we lose their services.

Our success depends on the continued and collaborative efforts of our senior management, especially our executive officers, including our founder, Dr. Yu Gong. If, however, one or more of our executives or other key personnel are unable or unwilling to continue to provide services to us, we may not be able to find suitable replacements easily or at all. Competition for management and key personnel is intense and the pool of qualified candidates is limited. We may not be able to retain the services of our executives or key personnel, or attract and retain experienced executives or key personnel in the future. If any of our executive officers or key employees joins a competitor or forms a competing business, we may lose crucial business secrets, technological know-how, advertisers and other valuable resources. Each of our executive officers and key employees has entered into an employment agreement with us, which contains non-compete provisions. However, we cannot assure you that they will abide by the employment agreements or our efforts to enforce these agreements will be effective enough to protect our interests.

Our limited operating history makes it difficult to evaluate our business and prospects.

We launched our platform and internet video streaming services in 2010 and have grown rapidly since then. However, due to our limited operating history, our historical growth rate may not be indicative of our future performance. We cannot assure you that our growth rate will be the same as in the past. In addition, we may in the future introduce new services or significantly expand our existing services, including those that currently are of relatively small scale or with which we have little or no prior development or operating experience. If these new or enhanced services fail to engage users and customers, our business and operating results may suffer as a result. We cannot assure you that we will be able to recoup our investments in introducing these new services or enhancing existing smaller business lines, and we may experience significant loss and impairment of asset value due to such efforts. Furthermore, as a technology-based entertainment company, we frequently introduce innovative products and services to our users and advertising customers in order to capture new market opportunities. However, we cannot assure you that our products and services will be well received by our users and advertising customers. In addition, it is possible that our users and advertising customers may find our products and services objectionable. For example, there was media reporting in 2017 that the beta-testing version of our Vivi virtual assistant service was deemed by some of our users as offensive. We immediately suspended such service pending further modifications. If our existing or new products and services are not well received by our users and customers, we may suffer damages

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to our brand image and may not be able to maintain or expand our user and customer base, which in turn may have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. You should consider our prospects in light of the risks and uncertainties fast-growing companies with limited operating histories in a fast evolving industry may encounter.

We may not be able to manage our growth effectively.

We have experienced rapid growth since we launched our services in 2010. To manage the further expansion of our business and the growth of our operations and personnel, we need to continuously expand and enhance our infrastructure and technology, and improve our operational and financial systems, procedures, compliance and controls. We also need to expand, train and manage our growing employee base. In addition, our management will be required to maintain and expand our relationships with content providers, distributors, advertising customers, advertising agencies and other third parties. We cannot assure you that our current infrastructure, systems, procedures and controls will be adequate to support our expanding operations. If we fail to manage our expansion effectively, our business, results of operations and prospects may be materially and adversely affected.

We cannot guarantee our monetization strategies will be successfully implemented or generate sustainable revenues and profit.

Our monetization model is evolving. We currently generate a substantial majority of our revenues from membership services and online advertising. We plan to strengthen revenue contribution from our IP-related monetization methods, such as content distribution, live broadcasting, online games, and IP licensing. We have no proven track record or experience in generating substantial revenues from IP-related monetization methods. If our strategic initiatives do not enhance our monetization ability or enable us to develop new approaches to monetization, we may not be able to maintain or increase our revenues or recover any associated costs. In addition, we may in the future introduce new services to further diversify our revenue streams, including services with which we have little or no prior development or operating experience. If these new or enhanced services fail to engage users, customers or content partners, we may fail to attract or retain users or to generate sufficient revenues to justify our investments, and our business and operating results may suffer as a result.

We have significant working capital requirements and have historically experienced working capital deficits. If we experience such working capital deficits in the future, our business, liquidity, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

We have historically experienced working capital deficits. We have achieved a working capital surplus as of December 31, 2018. However, there is no assurance that we will continue to improve our working capital position or to achieve a surplus. For actions that we plan to take in order to manage our working capital, see “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects — B. Liquidity and Capital Resources.” There can be no assurance, however, that we will be able to prudently manage our working capital, or raise additional equity or debt financing on terms that are acceptable to us. Our inability to take these actions as and when necessary could materially adversely affect our liquidity, results of operations, financial condition and ability to operate.  

Our business, prospects and financial results may be impacted by our relationship with third-party platforms.

In addition to our iQIYI platform, we also distribute video content through third-party platforms. We generate membership service and online advertising service revenues through revenue-sharing arrangements with such third-party platforms, which include leading internet companies in China. However, there can be no assurance that our arrangements with those platforms will be extended or renewed after their respective expiration or that we will be able to extend or renew such arrangements on terms and conditions favorable to us. In addition, if any of such third-party platforms breaches its obligations under any of the agreements entered into with us or refuses to extend or renew it when the term expires, and we cannot find suitable replacement on a timely basis, or at all, we may suffer significant loss to our user base and revenue streams we have developed therefrom, or loose the opportunity to expand our business through such platform. We may be involved with legal or other disputes with third-party platforms that may affect our relationship with such platforms or have an adverse effect on our business.

We face risks, such as unforeseen costs and potential liability in connection with content we produce, license and/or distribute through our platform.

As a producer, licensor and distributor of content, we face potential liability for negligence, copyright and trademark infringement, or other claims based on the content that we produce, license, provide and/or distribute. We also may face potential liability for content used in promoting our service, including marketing materials and features on our platform such as user reviews. We are responsible for the production costs and other expenses of our original content. We also take on risks associated with production, such as completion and key talent risk. To the extent we do not accurately anticipate costs or mitigate risks, including for content that we obtain but ultimately does not appear on our platform, or if we become liable for content we produce, license and/or distribute, our business may suffer. Litigation to defend these claims could be costly and the expenses and damages arising from any liability or unforeseen production risks could harm our results of operations. We may not be indemnified against claims or costs of these types and we may not have insurance coverage for these types of claims.

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Videos and other content displayed on our platform may be found objectionable by PRC regulatory authorities and may subject us to penalties and other administrative actions.

We are subject to PRC regulations governing internet access and the distribution of videos and other forms of information over the internet. Under these regulations, internet content providers and internet publishers are prohibited from posting or displaying over the internet any content that, among other things, violates PRC laws and regulations, impairs the national dignity of China or the public interest, or is obscene, superstitious, frightening, gruesome, offensive, fraudulent or defamatory. Furthermore, as an internet video streaming platform, we are not allowed to (i) produce or disseminate programs that distort, parody or vilify classic literary works; (ii) re-edit, re-dub or re-caption the subtitles of classic literary works, radio and television programs, and network-based original audio-video programs, (iii) intercept program segments and splice them into new programs; or (iv) disseminate edited pieces of works that distort the originals. We shall strictly supervise our self-made content and the reprogramed videos uploaded by our users and shall not facilitate the dissemination of defective audio-video programs. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in monetary penalties, revocation of licenses to provide internet content or other licenses, suspension of the concerned platforms and reputational harm. In addition, these laws and regulations are subject to interpretation by the relevant authorities, and it may not be possible to determine in all cases the types of content that could cause us to be held liable as an internet content provider. For a detailed discussion, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—Government Regulation—Regulations on Internet Content Providers”, “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Government Regulations—Regulations on Internet Audio-video Program Services” and “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Government Regulations—Regulations on Information Security, Censorship and Privacy.”

Internet platform operators may also be held liable for the content displayed on or linked to its platform that is subject to certain restrictions. In addition to professionally produced content, we allow our users to upload professional or user-generated content, such as videos and other content formats. Although we have adopted internal procedures to monitor the content displayed on our platform, due to the significant amount of content uploaded by our users, we may not be able to identify all videos or other content that may be illegal or otherwise objectionable. In addition, we may not be able to always keep these internal procedures abreast of changes in the PRC government’s requirements for content display. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—Business Overview—Content Monitoring” for more details relating to our content monitoring procedures. Failure to identify and prevent illegal or inappropriate content from being displayed on our platform may subject us to liability, government sanctions or loss of licenses and/or permits.

To the extent that PRC regulatory authorities find any content displayed on our platform objectionable, they may require us to limit or eliminate the dissemination of such content on our platform in the form of take-down orders or otherwise. In the past, we have from time to time received phone calls and written notices from the relevant PRC regulatory authorities requesting us to delete or restrict certain content that the government deemed inappropriate or sensitive. The State Administration of Press and Publication, Radio, Film and Television, or the SAPPRFT, publishes from time to time lists of content that is objectionable, and we monitor content uploaded on to our platform and remove those referenced in the list. In addition, regulatory authorities may impose penalties on us for content displayed on or linked to our platform in cases of material violations or lacking proper license, including a revocation of our operating licenses or a suspension or shutdown of our online operations. Although we have not been materially penalized for our content so far, in the event that the PRC regulatory authorities find the video and other content on our platform objectionable and impose penalties on us or take other actions against us in the future, our business, results of operations and reputation may be materially and adversely affected. Moreover, the costs of compliance with these regulations may continue to increase as a result of more content uploaded by our users.

We operate in a rapidly evolving industry. If we fail to keep up with the technological developments and users’ changing requirements, our business, results of operations and prospects may be materially and adversely affected.

The internet video streaming industry is rapidly evolving and subject to continuous technological changes. Our success will depend on our ability to keep up with the changes in technology and user behavior resulting from the technological developments. As we make our services available across a variety of mobile operating systems and devices, we are dependent on the interoperability of our services with popular mobile devices and mobile operating systems that we do not control, such as Android and iOS. Any changes in such mobile operating systems or devices that degrade the functionality of our services or give preferential treatment to competitive services could adversely affect usage of our services. Further, if the number of platforms for which we develop our services increases, which is typically seen in a dynamic and fragmented mobile services market such as China, it will result in an increase in our costs and expenses. If we fail to adapt our products and services to such changes in an effective and timely manner, we may suffer from decreased user traffic, which may result in reduced member base and number of advertising customers using our online advertising services. Furthermore, changes in technologies may require substantial capital expenditures in product development as well as in modification of products, services or infrastructure. We may not execute our business strategies successfully due to a variety of reasons such as technical hurdles, misunderstanding or erroneous prediction of market demand or lack of necessary resources. Failure to keep up with technological development may result in our products and services being less attractive, which, in turn, may materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations and prospects.

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We have been, and may continue to be, subject to liabilities for infringement, misappropriation or other violation of third-party intellectual property rights or other allegations based on the content available on our platform or services we provide.

Our success depends, in large part, on our ability to operate our business without infringing, misappropriating or otherwise violating third-party rights, including third-party intellectual property rights. Companies in the internet, technology and media industries own, and are seeking to obtain, a large number of patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets, and they are frequently involved in litigation based on allegations of infringement, misappropriation or other violations of intellectual property rights or other related legal rights. There may be patents issued or pending that are held by others that cover significant aspects of our technologies, products, or services, and such third parties may attempt to enforce such rights against us. In addition, we may not have obtained licenses for all content we offer and the scope, type and term of the licenses we obtained for certain content may not be broad enough to cover all fashions we currently employ or may employ in the future. In addition, if any purported licensor does not actually have sufficient authorization relating to the content or right to license a content to us, or if such purported licensor had lost its authorization to sub-license content that we are distributing on our platform, and do not timely inform us of such loss of authorization, we may be subject to claims of intellectual property infringement from third parties.

Although we have set up certain procedures to enable copyright owners to provide us with notice of alleged infringement, given the volume of content available on our platform, it is not possible, and we do not attempt to, identify and remove or disable all potentially infringing content that may exist. Similarly, although we have set up screening processes to try to filter out or disable access to content that we have previously been informed is subject to claims of copyright or other intellectual property protection, we do not attempt to filter out or disable access to all potentially infringing content available through our services. As a result, third parties may take action and file claims against us if they believe that certain content available on our platform violates their copyrights or other intellectual property rights. We have been, and may in the future be, subject to such claims filed in China and other jurisdictions. We have been involved in litigation based on allegations of infringement of third-party copyright, including information network dissemination rights, and other rights, due to the content available on our platform. We were subject to a total of 1,972 lawsuits in China for alleged copyright infringement between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2018, in connection with our platform. Approximately 97% of the lawsuits filed from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2018 in connection with the iQIYI platform were rejected by relevant PRC courts, withdrawn by the plaintiffs or settled by the parties. As of December 31, 2018, a total 60 lawsuits against us in connection with our platform were pending, with the aggregate amount of damages sought under these pending cases being approximately RMB121.2 million (US$17.6 million).

Our platform allows users to search the internet for content that resides on certain third parties’ servers and online platforms. While uncertainties still exist with respect to the legal standards as well as the judicial interpretation of such standards for determining liabilities for our providing links and access to content on third-party servers and websites that infringes others’ copyrights and other intellectual property rights under PRC laws and the laws of other jurisdictions, third parties may take action and file claims against us if they believe that certain content we provide links or access to through our platform violates their copyrights or other intellectual property rights.

We cannot assure you that we will not be subject to copyright laws or legal proceedings initiated by third parties in other jurisdictions, such as the United States, as a result of the ability of users to access our videos and other content in the United States and other jurisdictions, the ownership of our ADSs by investors in the United States and other jurisdictions, the extraterritorial application of foreign law by foreign courts, the fact that we sub-licensed content from licensors who in turn obtained their authorizations from content providers in the United States and other jurisdictions or otherwise. In addition, as a publicly listed company, we may be exposed to increased risk of litigation. If a claim of infringement brought against us in the United States or other jurisdictions is successful, we may be required to, upon enforcement, (i) pay substantial statutory or other damages and fines, (ii) remove relevant content from our platform or (iii) enter into royalty or license agreements which may not be available on commercially reasonable terms or at all.

Moreover, although U.S. copyright laws, including the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (17 U.S.C. § 512), or the DMCA, provide safeguards or “safe harbors” from claims in the U.S. for monetary relief for copyright infringement for certain entities that host user-uploaded content or provide information location tools that may link to infringing content, these safe harbors only apply to companies that comply with specified statutory requirements. While we seek to voluntarily comply with DMCA safe harbor requirements, we cannot ensure that we satisfy all of the requirements of any DMCA safe harbor. It is possible that we could be subject to claims of copyright infringement or other violation of intellectual property rights in the U.S. and be required to pay substantial damages or prevented from offering all or part of our services in the U.S.

We have been subject to lawsuits in China for alleged unfair competition in connection with our platform. We may also face litigation or administrative actions for defamation, negligence, copyright and trademark infringement, or other purported injuries resulting from the content we provide or the nature of our services. Such litigation and administrative actions, with or without merits, may be expensive and time-consuming and may result in significant diversion of resources and management attention from our business operations. Furthermore, such litigation or administrative actions may adversely affect our brand image and reputation.

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In addition, we operate our platform primarily through our consolidated affiliated entities and their subsidiaries, and our ability to monitor content as described above depends in large part on the experience and skills of the management of, and our control over, those consolidated affiliated entities. Our control over the management and operations of our consolidated affiliated entities through contractual arrangements may not be as effective as that through direct ownership. See “—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure—We rely on contractual arrangements with our consolidated affiliated entities and their shareholders for our business operations, which may not be as effective as direct ownership in providing operational control.”

We may not be able to adequately protect our intellectual property rights, and any failure to protect our intellectual property rights could adversely affect our revenues and competitive position.

We believe that trademarks, trade secrets, copyright, and other intellectual property we use are critical to our business. We rely on a combination of trademark, copyright and trade secret protection laws in China and other jurisdictions, as well as confidentiality procedures and contractual provisions to protect our intellectual property and our brand. Protection of intellectual property rights in China may not be as effective as in the United States or other jurisdictions, and as a result, we may not be able to adequately protect our intellectual property rights, which could adversely affect our revenues and competitive position. In addition, any unauthorized use of our intellectual property by third parties may adversely affect our revenues and our reputation. In particular, our members may abuse their membership privilege and illegally distribute paid content exclusively available to paid members, which could have a material and adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and prospects. Further, we may have difficulty addressing the threats to our business associated with piracy of our copyrighted content, particularly our original content. Our content and streaming services may be potentially subject to unauthorized consumer copying and illegal digital dissemination without an economic return to us. We adopt a variety of measures to mitigate risks associated with piracy, including by litigation and through technology measures. We cannot assure that such measures will be effective.

In addition, while we typically require our employees, consultants and contractors who may be involved in the development of intellectual property to execute agreements assigning such intellectual property to us, we may be unsuccessful in executing such an agreement with each party who in fact develops intellectual property that we regard as our own. In addition such agreements may not be self-executing such that the intellectual property subject to such agreements may not be assigned to us without additional assignments being executed, and we may fail to obtain such assignments. In addition, such agreements may be breached. Accordingly, we may be forced to bring claims against third parties, or defend claims that they may bring against us related to the ownership of such intellectual property.

Furthermore, policing unauthorized use of proprietary technology is difficult and expensive, and we may need to resort to litigation to enforce or defend intellectual property or to determine the enforceability, scope and validity of our proprietary rights or those of others. Such litigation and an adverse determination in any such litigation could result in substantial costs and diversion of resources and management attention.

If our security measures are breached, or if our products and services are subject to attacks that degrade or deny the ability of users to access our products and services, our products and services may be perceived as insecure, users and advertising customers may curtail or stop using our products and services and our business and operating results may be harmed.

Our products and services involve the storage and transmission of users’ and advertising customers’ information, particularly billing data, as well as original content, and security breaches expose us to a risk of loss of this information, loss of users, litigation and potential liability. We experience cyber-attacks of varying degrees on a regular basis, including hacking into our user accounts and redirecting our user traffic to other internet platforms, and we have been able to rectify attacks without significant impact to our operations in the past. Functions that facilitate interactivity with other internet platforms could increase the scope of access of hackers to user accounts. We take measures to protect against unauthorized intrusion into our users’ data. Despite these measures we, our payment processing services or other third party services we use could experience an unauthorized intrusion into our users’ data. In the event of such a breach, current and potential users may become unwilling to provide the information to us necessary for them to become users or members. Additionally, we could face legal claims or regulatory fines or penalties for such a breach. The costs relating to any data breach could be material, and we currently do not carry insurance against the risk of a data breach. For these reasons, should an unauthorized intrusion into our users’ data occur, our business could be adversely affected.

Our security measures may also be breached due to employee error, malfeasance or otherwise. For example, we face risks of users bypassing the membership verification process on our platform with illegal technology and manipulating our system into recognizing them as paid members. As a result, such users may illegally gain access to premium content without purchasing our membership. Additionally, outside parties may attempt to fraudulently induce employees, users or customers to disclose sensitive information in order to gain access to our data or our users’ or customers’ data or accounts, or may otherwise obtain access to such data or accounts. Since our users and customers may use their accounts to establish and maintain online identities, unauthorized communications from accounts that have been compromised may damage their reputations and brands as well as ours. Furthermore, we face the risk of hackers gaining illegal access to and illegally distributing our original content that has not been released. While such incidents have not occurred in the past, we cannot assure you that they will not happen in the future. Any such breach or

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unauthorized access could result in significant legal and financial exposure, damage to our reputation and a loss of confidence in the security of our products and services that could have an adverse effect on our business and operating results. Because the techniques used to obtain unauthorized access, disable or degrade service or sabotage systems change frequently and often are not recognized until launched against a target, we may be unable to anticipate these techniques or to implement adequate preventative measures. If an actual or perceived breach of our security occurs, the market perception of the effectiveness of our security measures and our reputation and relationships with users could be harmed, we may lose users and customers and we may be exposed to significant legal and financial risks, including legal claims and regulatory fines and penalties. Any of these actions could have a material and adverse effect on our business, reputation and operating results.

We rely upon our partner to make our service available through smart TV.

In smart TV video streaming market, only a small number of qualified license holders can provide internet audio and visual program service to the TV terminal users via smart TVs, set-top boxes and other electronic products. Most of those license holders are radio or TV stations. Private companies that wish to operate such business need to cooperate with those license holders to legally provide relevant services. We entered into a joint venture with Galaxy Internet Television Co., Ltd., our license partner, and the joint venture currently offers certain of our members the ability to receive streaming content through smart TV. If we are not successful in maintaining existing or creating new relationships, or if we encounter technological, content licensing, regulatory or other impediments to delivering our streaming content to our members via these devices, our ability to grow our business may be adversely impacted.

Advertisements shown on our platform may subject us to penalties and other administrative actions.

Under PRC advertising laws and regulations, we are obligated to monitor the advertising content shown on our platform to ensure that such content is true, accurate and in full compliance with applicable laws and regulations. In addition, where a special government review is required for specific types of advertisements prior to posting, such as advertisements relating to pharmaceuticals, medical instruments, agrochemicals and veterinary pharmaceuticals, we are obligated to confirm that such review has been performed and approval has been obtained from competent governmental authority. To fulfill these monitoring functions, we include clauses in all of our advertising contracts requiring that all advertising content provided by advertising agencies and advertisers must comply with relevant laws and regulations. Under PRC law, we may have claims against advertising agencies and advertisers for all damages to us caused by their breach of such representations. Violation of these laws and regulations may subject us to penalties, including fines, confiscation of our advertising income, orders to cease dissemination of the advertisements and orders to publish an announcement correcting the misleading information. In circumstances involving serious violations, such as posting a pharmaceutical product advertisement without approval, or posting an advertisement for fake pharmaceutical product, PRC governmental authorities may force us to terminate our advertising operation or revoke our licenses.

A majority of the advertisements shown on our platform are provided to us by third parties. Although we have implemented automated and manual content monitoring systems and significant efforts have been made to ensure that the advertisements shown on our platform are in full compliance with applicable laws and regulations, we cannot assure you that all the content contained in such advertisements is true and accurate as required by the advertising laws and regulations, especially given the large volume of in-feed ads and the uncertainty in the application of these laws and regulations. In addition, advertisers, especially in-feed advertisers, may through illegal technology evade our content monitoring procedures to show advertisements on our platform that do not comply with applicable laws and regulations. The inability of our systems and procedures to adequately and timely discover such evasions may subject us to regulatory penalties or administrative sanctions. Although we have not been subject to material penalties or administrative sanctions in the past for the advertisements shown on our platform, if we are found to be in violation of applicable PRC advertising laws and regulations in the future, we may be subject to penalties and our reputation may be harmed, which may have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

If we cannot maintain our corporate culture as we grow, we could lose the innovation, collaboration and focus that contribute to our business.

We believe that a critical component of our success is our corporate culture, which fosters innovation and cultivates creativity. As we continue to expand and grow our business, we may find it difficult to maintain these valuable aspects of our corporate culture. Any failure to preserve our culture could undermine our reputation and negatively impact our ability to attract and retain employees, which would in turn jeopardize our future success.

Our quarterly operating results may fluctuate, which makes our results of operations difficult to predict and may cause our quarterly results of operations to fall short of expectations.

Our quarterly operating results have fluctuated in the past and may continue to fluctuate depending upon a number of factors, many of which are out of our control. Our operating results tend to be seasonal. For instance, we have experienced lower online

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advertising services revenue in the first quarter of each year in connection with the Chinese New Year holiday as advertisers limit their budget for online platforms and less blockbuster content is released during that period. Furthermore, our content distribution revenue may fluctuate significantly from quarter to quarter as a result of the varying availability of popular content titles for distribution and adjustments to our market strategies. For these reasons, comparing our operating results on a period-to-period basis may not be meaningful, and you should not rely on our past results as an indication of our future performance. Our quarterly and annual revenues and costs and expenses as a percentage of our revenues in a given period may be significantly different from our historical or projected rates and our operating results in future quarters may fall below expectations.

Disruption or failure of our IT systems, cybersecurity related threats or our failure to timely and effectively scale and adapt our existing technology and infrastructure could impair our users’ online entertainment experience and adversely affect our reputation, business and operating results.

Our ability to provide users with a high-quality online entertainment experience depends on the continuous and reliable operation of our IT systems. We cannot assure you that we will be able to procure sufficient bandwidth in a timely manner or on acceptable terms or at all. Failure to do so may significantly impair user experience on our platform and decrease the overall effectiveness of our platform to both users and advertisers. Disruptions, failures, unscheduled service interruptions or a decrease in connection speeds could hurt our reputation and cause our users and advertising customers to switch to our competitors’ platforms. Our IT systems and proprietary content delivery network, or CDN, are vulnerable to damage or interruption as a result of fires, floods, earthquakes, power losses, telecommunications failures, undetected errors in software, computer viruses, hacking and other attempts to harm our systems. We have experienced intermittent interruptions for up to 48 hours of viewer access to one popular drama title in the past. Our platform has also experienced general intermittent interruptions for approximately two hours in the past. These interruptions were caused by (i) overload of our servers; (ii) unexpected overflow of user traffic; (iii) service malfunction of payment gateway; and/or (iv) service malfunction of the telecommunications operators, such as power outage of internet data centers or network transmission congestion. We may continue to experience similar interruptions in the future despite our continuous efforts to improve our IT systems. Since we host our servers at third-party internet data centers, any natural disaster or unexpected closure of internet data centers operated by third-party providers may result in lengthy service interruptions. Furthermore, in the future experience, service disruptions, outages and other performance problems due to a variety of factors, including infrastructure changes and cybersecurity related threats as follows:

 

our technology, system, networks and our users’ devices have been subject to, and may continue to be the target of, cyber-attacks, computer viruses, malicious code, phishing attacks or information security breaches that could result in an unauthorized release, gathering, monitoring, misuse, loss or destruction of confidential, proprietary and other information of ours, our employees or sensitive information provided by our users, or otherwise disrupt our, our users’ or other third parties’ business operations;

 

we periodically encounter attempts to create false accounts or use our platform to send targeted and untargeted spam messages to our users, or take other actions on our platform for purposes such as spamming or spreading misinformation, and we may not be able to repel spamming attacks;

 

the use of encryption and other security measures intended to protect our systems and confidential data may not provide absolute security, and losses or unauthorized access to or releases of confidential information may still occur;

 

our security measures may be breached due to employee error, malfeasance or unauthorized access to sensitive information by our employees, who may be induced by outside third parties, and we may not be able to anticipate any breach of our security or to implement adequate preventative measures; and

 

we may be subject to IT system failures or network disruptions caused by natural disasters, accidents, power disruptions, telecommunications failures, acts of terrorism or war, computer viruses, physical or electronic break-ins, or other events or disruptions.

If we experience frequent or persistent service disruptions, whether caused by failures of our own systems or those of third-party service providers, our users’ experience with us may be negatively affected, which in turn, may have a material and adverse effect on our reputation. We cannot assure you that we will be successful in minimizing the frequency or duration of service interruptions.

As the number of our users increases and our users generate more content on our platform, we may be required to expand and adapt our technology and infrastructure to continue to reliably store and analyze this content. It may become increasingly difficult to maintain and improve the performance of our services, especially during peak usage times, as our services become more complex and our user traffic increases. If our users are unable to access our online application in a timely fashion, or at all, our user experience may be compromised and the users may seek other platforms to meet their needs, and may not return to iQIYI or use iQIYI as often in the future, or at all. This would negatively impact our ability to attract users and maintain the level of user engagement.

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If the technologies we use in operating our business fails, becomes unavailable, or does not operate to meet expectations, our business and results of operation may be adversely impacted.

We utilize a combination of proprietary and third party technologies to operate our business. These include the technologies that we have developed to recommend and monetize content to our users as well as enable fast and efficient delivery of content to our users and their various internet connected devices. For example, we use our own CDN, and third-party CDN services to support our operation. To the extent internet service providers do not interconnect with the CDN services we use, or if we experience difficulties in its operation, our ability to efficiently and effectively deliver our streaming content to our users could be adversely impacted and our business and results of operation could be adversely affected. Likewise, if our recommendation and monetization technology does not enable us to predict and recommend content that our users will enjoy, our ability to attract and retain users may be adversely affected. We also utilize third party technology to help market our service, process payments, and otherwise manage the daily operations of our business. If our technology or that of third parties we utilize in our operations fails or otherwise operates improperly, our ability to operate our service, retain existing users and add new users may be impaired. Also, any harm to our users’ personal computers or other devices caused by software used in our operations could have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

Any lack of requisite permits for any of our internet video and other content or any of our business may expose us to regulatory sanctions.

In 2009, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, or SARFT, released a Notice on Strengthening the Administration of Online Audio/Video Program Content. This notice reiterated, among other things, that all films and television shows released or published online must be in compliance with relevant regulations on the administration of radio, film and television. In other words, these films and television shows, whether produced in the PRC or overseas, must be pre-approved by SARFT, the authority of which is currently exercised by the National Radio and Television Administration, or the NRTA and the State Film Bureau, or the SFB, and distributors of these films and television shows must obtain an applicable permit before releasing them. In September 2014, the SAPPRFT, which replaced SARFT, reiterated that all the foreign TV dramas and films published to the public via internet must obtain their respective permit. In addition, all the foreign TV dramas and films published to the public via internet by competent license holders must be registered with the SAPPRFT before March 31, 2015 and all un-registered TV dramas and films will be prohibited from broadcasting via internet from April 1, 2015. In addition, online games are also subject to approval by the SAPPRFT, the authority of which is currently exercised by the State Administration of Press and Publication, or the SAPP, and approval by or filing with the Ministry of Culture. As mentioned in the news reports, between March and December 2018, such approval or filing of domestic online games were suspended, which may have been due to the institutional restructuring of game approval authorities involving the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the SAPPRFT, and we can not apply for such approval or filing during this period. Such suspension caused significant delays in the introduction of new games in the Chinese market.  

In terms of licensed third-party content published or online games distributed jointly with third parties, we obtain and rely on written representations from content providers and third-party operators regarding the NRTA, SFB, SAPP and other approval and filing status of these content and online games, and, to a lesser extent, require content providers and third-party operators to produce evidence demonstrating that they and the licensed content or the online games have received all requisite permits and approvals. We also import some foreign TV dramas and films and apply for the permits for and register such contents with the competent authorities by ourselves. However, we cannot assure you that our monitoring procedures with respect to licensed content and online games are fully adequate, and we cannot guarantee that the remedies provided by these content providers, if any, will be sufficient to compensate us for potential regulatory sanctions imposed by the NRTA, SFB or SAPP due to violations of the approval and permit requirements and for the foreign TV dramas and movies imported by us, we cannot assure you that we will be able to obtain the permits for or register such contents with the competent authorities in a timely manner or at all. Nor can we ensure that any such sanctions will not adversely affect either the general availability of video, online games or other content on our platform or our reputation. In addition, such risks may persist due to ambiguities and uncertainties relating to the implementation and enforcement of this notice. Although we have internal content monitoring procedures in place to review our procured content, we face risks of termination of permits and approvals, contractual misrepresentations and failure to honor representations or indemnify us against any claims or costs by content providers.

We have obtained the Value-added Telecommunications Business Operation License for information services via internet, or ICP License, the Permit for Internet Audio-Video Program Service, the Network Culture Business Permit, the Permit for Internet Drug Information Service, and other relevant permits required for operating our business. However, we have not obtained and are in the process of applying for or upgrading and expanding certain approvals or permits which are required or may be required for our operation of businesses. For example, we have not obtained and are planning to apply for the Permit for Internet News Information Service to publish current political news on our platform or disseminate such news through the internet. Beijing iQIYI has not obtained and is in the process of applying for the Internet Publishing Service License in relation to our online games, comics and online literature operation. We also have not obtained and are in the process of applying for adding and amending certain service items for our Permit for Internet Audio-Video Program Service, such as forwarding the audio-video programs uploaded by the users,

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rebroadcasting radio and TV channels, displaying current political audio-video news programs and providing video and audio live broadcasting of cultural activities, sports events and other activities organized by the general social groups. We are also planning to apply for adding online performances for the Network Culture Business of Beijing iQIYI and adding electronic data interchange as a permitted business for our Value-added Telecommunications Business Operation License. We are also filing several HTML5 online games operated by us with the Ministry of Culture. Although we are planning to apply or in the process of applying for such licenses and we maintain regular oral communication with relevant regulatory authorities, which have not objected to the operations of our business in question, if we fail to obtain, maintain or renew such licenses, or obtain any additional licenses and permits or make any records or filings required by new laws, regulations or executive orders required for our new business in a timely manner or at all, we could be subject to liabilities or penalties, and our operations could be adversely affected.

In addition, new laws and regulations may be adopted from time to time to address new issues that come to the authorities’ attention, which may require us to obtain new license and permits, or take certain actions that may adversely affect our business operations. For example, we have recently voluntarily taken down certain online advertisements on our platform due to tightened regulations on online advertisements. We may not timely obtain or maintain all the required licenses or approvals or make all the necessary filings in the future. Nor can we assure you that we will be able to timely address all the change in policy, failure of which may subject us to liabilities or penalties, and our operations could be adversely affected.

Undetected programming errors could adversely affect our user experience and market acceptance of our video content, which may materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.

Video content on our platform may contain programming errors that may only become apparent after their release. We receive user feedbacks in connection with programming errors affecting the user experience from time to time, and such errors may also come to our attention during our monitoring process. We generally have been able to resolve such programming errors in a timely manner. However, we cannot assure you that we will be able to detect and resolve all these programming errors effectively. Undetected audio or video programming errors or defects may adversely affect user experience, cause users to refrain from becoming our paid members or to cancel their membership subscriptions, and cause our advertising customers to reduce their use of our services, any of which could materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.

We have invested in or acquired complementary assets, technologies and businesses in the future, and such efforts may fail and may result in equity or earnings dilution.

We have invested in and acquired, and may continue to invest in and acquire, assets, technologies and businesses that are complementary to our business in the future. For example, in July 2018, we acquired 100% equity stake in Skymoons. Acquired businesses or assets may not yield the results we expect. In addition, investments and acquisitions involve uncertainties and risks, including:

 

potential ongoing financial obligations and unforeseen or hidden liabilities, including liability for infringement of third-party copyrights or other intellectual property;

 

costs and difficulties of integrating acquired businesses and managing a larger business;

 

in the case of investments where we do not obtain management and operational control, lack of influence over the controlling partner or shareholder, which may prevent us from achieving our strategic goals in the investments;

 

possible loss of key employees of a target business;

 

potential claims or litigation regarding our board’s exercise of its duty of care and other duties required under applicable law in connection with any of our significant acquisitions or investments approved by the board;

 

diversion of resources and management attention;

 

regulatory hurdles and compliance risks, including the anti-monopoly and competition laws, rules and regulations of China and other jurisdictions; and

 

enhanced compliance requirements for outbound acquisitions and investment under the laws and regulations of China.

Any failure to address these risks successfully may have a material and adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. Investments and acquisitions may require a significant amount of capital, which would decrease the amount of cash available for working capital or capital expenditures. In addition, if we use our equity securities to pay for investments and acquisitions, we may dilute the value of our ADSs and the underlying ordinary shares. If we borrow funds to finance investments and acquisitions, such debt instruments may contain restrictive covenants that could, among other things, restrict us from distributing dividends. Moreover, acquisitions may also generate significant amortization expenses related to intangible assets. We may also incur impairment charges to earnings for investments and acquired businesses and assets.

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We are subject to payment processing risk.

Our members pay for our service using a variety of different online payment methods. We rely on third parties to process such payment. Acceptance and processing of these payment methods are subject to certain rules and regulations and require payment of interchange and other fees. To the extent there are increases in payment processing fees, material changes in the payment ecosystem, such as delays in receiving payments from payment processors and/or changes to rules or regulations concerning payment processing, our revenue, operating expenses and results of operation could be adversely impacted.

Negative media coverage could adversely affect our business.

Negative publicity about us or our business, shareholders, affiliates, directors, officers or other employees, as well as the industry in which we operate, can harm our operations. Such negative publicity could be related to a variety of matters, including:

 

alleged misconduct or other improper activities committed by our shareholders, affiliates, directors, officers and other employees;

 

false or malicious allegations or rumors about us or our shareholders, affiliates, directors, officers and other employees;

 

user complaints about the quality of our products and services;

 

copyright infringements involving us and content offered on our platform;

 

security breaches of confidential user information; and

 

governmental and regulatory investigations or penalties resulting from our failure to comply with applicable laws and regulations.

We may also be affected by publicity relating to third party service providers. For example, in September 2018, there was negative publicity involving certain senior officers of iResearch, the industry consultant we commissioned to prepare an industry report in connection with our initial public offering. According to a public announcement made by iResearch, certain senior officers of iResearch are cooperating with governmental investigations in China. Such publicity may raise questions as to the integrity of the industry data or opinions produced by iResearch, including the data included in iResearch’s industry report produced in connection with our initial public offering, or otherwise have a negative impact on our reputation. In addition to traditional media, there has been an increasing use of social media platforms and similar devices in China, including instant messaging applications, such as Weixin/WeChat, social media websites and other forms of internet-based communications that provide individuals with access to a broad audience of users and other interested persons. The availability of information on instant messaging applications and social media platforms is virtually immediate as is its impact without affording us an opportunity for redress or correction. The opportunity for dissemination of information, including inaccurate information, is seemingly limitless and readily available. Information concerning our company, shareholders, directors, officers and employees may be posted on such platforms at any time. The risks associated with any such negative publicity or incorrect information cannot be completely eliminated or mitigated and may materially harm our reputation, business, financial condition and results of operations.

A severe or prolonged downturn in the PRC or global economy could materially and adversely affect our business and our financial condition.

The global macroeconomic environment is facing challenges. The PRC economy has slowed down since 2012 and such slowdown may continue. There have been concerns on the relationship among China and other Asian countries, which may result in or intensify potential conflicts in relation to territorial disputes. There have also been concerns on the relationship between China and the U.S., including those resulting from the ongoing trade dispute between the two countries. It is unclear whether these challenges and uncertainties will be contained or resolved, and what effects they may have on the global political and economic conditions in the long term. Economic conditions in China are sensitive to global economic conditions, as well as changes in domestic economic and political policies and the expected or perceived overall economic growth rate in China. China’s GDP growth rate has been on a decline in the past several years. Recently there have been signs that the rate of China’s economic growth may be declining. Moreover, the United Nations population projections (2015) project a slowdown in increase in Chinese population from 2015 to 2030 and a decrease in its population thereafter with the percentage of population over 60 predicted to more than double from 2015 to 2050. In the absence of substantial increase in per capita productivity, this projected change in Chinese demographics can result in decrease in overall productivity and growth rates of the Chinese economy. Any severe or prolonged slowdown in the global or PRC economy may materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition. In addition, continued turbulence in the international markets may adversely affect our ability to access capital markets to meet liquidity needs.

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Our operations depend on the performance of the internet infrastructure and telecommunications networks in China.

The successful operation of our business depends on the performance of the internet infrastructure and telecommunications networks in China. Almost all access to the internet is maintained through state-owned telecommunications operators under the administrative control and regulatory supervision of the MIIT. Moreover, we have entered into contracts with various subsidiaries of a limited number of telecommunications service providers at provincial level and rely on them to provide us with data communications capacity through local telecommunications lines. We have limited access to alternative networks or services in the event of disruptions, failures or other problems with China’s internet infrastructure or the telecommunications networks provided by telecommunications service providers. Our platform regularly serve a large number of users and advertisers. With the expansion of our business, we may be required to upgrade our technology and infrastructure to keep up with the increasing traffic on our platform. However, we have no control over the costs of the services provided by telecommunications service providers. If the prices we pay for telecommunications and internet services rise significantly, our results of operations may be materially and adversely affected. If internet access fees or other charges to internet users increase, our user traffic may decline and our business may be harmed.

We have granted, and may continue to grant, share incentives, which may result in increased share-based compensation expenses.

We adopted an equity incentive plan on October 18, 2010, or the 2010 Plan, which was amended and restated on November 3, 2014 and August 6, 2016. We also adopted an equity incentive plan on November 30, 2017, or the 2017 Plan. We account for compensation costs for all share-based awards using a fair-value based method and recognize expenses in our consolidated statements of comprehensive loss in accordance with U.S. GAAP. Under the 2010 Plan, we are authorized to grant options, stock appreciation rights, restricted stock units and other types of awards that the administrator of the 2010 Plan decides. Under the 2017 Plan, we are authorized to grant options, restricted shares and restricted share units. Under the 2010 Plan, as amended, the maximum aggregate number of shares which may be issued pursuant to all awards is 589,729,714 shares. Under the 2017 Plan, the maximum aggregate number of shares which may be issued pursuant to all awards is 720,000 shares. As of February 28, 2019, options to purchase a total of 366,108,979 ordinary shares are outstanding under the 2010 Plan. For the years ended December 31, 2016, 2017 and 2018, we recorded RMB62.4 million, RMB233.4 million and RMB556.2 million (US$80.9 million), respectively, in share-based compensation expenses. We believe the granting of share-based awards is of significant importance to our ability to attract and retain key personnel and employees, and we will continue to grant share-based awards in the future. As a result, our expenses associated with share-based compensation may increase, which may have an adverse effect on our results of operations.

We face risks related to natural disasters, health epidemics and other outbreaks, which could significantly disrupt our operations.

We are vulnerable to natural disasters and other calamities. Fire, floods, typhoons, earthquakes, power loss, telecommunications failures, break-ins, war, riots, terrorist attacks or similar events may give rise to server interruptions, breakdowns, system failures, technology platform failures or internet failures, which could cause the loss or corruption of data or malfunctions of software or hardware as well as adversely affect our ability to provide products and services on our platform.

Our business could also be adversely affected by the effects of Ebola virus disease, H1N1 flu, H7N9 flu, avian flu, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, or other epidemics. Our business operations could be disrupted if any of our employees is suspected of having Ebola virus disease, H1N1 flu, H7N9 flu, avian flu, SARS or other epidemic, since it could require our employees to be quarantined and/or our offices to be disinfected. In addition, our results of operations could be adversely affected to the extent that any of these epidemics harms the Chinese economy in general.

We have limited business insurance coverage.

Insurance companies in China offer limited business insurance products. We do not have any business liability or disruption insurance coverage for our operations in China. Any business disruption may result in our incurring substantial costs and the diversion of our resources, which could have an adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

Failure to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting could have a material and adverse effect on the trading price of our ADSs.

We are subject to the reporting obligations under the U.S. securities laws. Since our initial public offering, we have become subject to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires that we include a report from management on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting in our annual report on Form 20-F beginning with our annual report for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2019. In addition, beginning at the same time, our independent registered public accounting firm must report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. If we fail to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting, we will not be able to conclude and our independent registered public accounting firm will not be able to report that we have effective internal control over financial reporting in accordance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 in our future annual report on Form 20-F covering the fiscal year in which this failure occurs. Effective internal control over financial reporting is necessary for us to produce reliable financial reports. Any failure to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting could result in the loss of investor confidence in the reliability of our financial statements, which in turn could have a material and adverse effect on the trading price of our ADSs. Furthermore, we may need to incur additional costs and use additional management and other resources as our business and operations further expand or in an effort to remediate any significant control deficiencies that may be identified in the future.

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Risks Related to Our Relationship with Baidu

We have limited experience operating as a stand-alone public company.

We have limited experience conducting our operations as a stand-alone public company. Since we became a stand-alone public company in March 2018, we have faced and will continue to face enhanced administrative and compliance requirements, which may result in substantial costs.

In addition, as we are a public company, our management team needs to develop the expertise necessary to comply with the regulatory and other requirements applicable to public companies, including requirements relating to corporate governance, listing standards and securities and investor relations issues. While we were a private subsidiary of Baidu, we were indirectly subject to requirements to maintain an effective internal control over financial reporting under Section 404 of the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002. However, as a stand-alone public company, our management has to evaluate our internal control system independently with new thresholds of materiality, and to implement necessary changes to our internal control system. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so continuously in an effective manner.

We may have conflicts of interest with Baidu and, because of Baidu’s controlling ownership interest in our company, we may not be able to resolve such conflicts on terms favorable to us.

Conflicts of interest may arise between Baidu and us in a number of areas relating to our ongoing relationships. Potential conflicts of interest that we have identified include the following:

 

Our board members may have conflicts of interest. Our directors Mr. Robin Yanhong Li, Mr. Herman Yu, Dr. Haifeng Wang and Mr. Lu Wang are also senior management of Baidu. These relationships could create, or appear to create, conflicts of interest when these persons are faced with decisions with potentially different implications for Baidu and us.

 

Sale of shares in our company. Baidu may decide to sell all or a portion of our shares that it holds to a third party, including to one of our competitors, thereby giving that third party substantial influence over our business and our affairs. Such a sale could be in conflict with the interests of our employees or our other shareholders.

 

Developing business relationships with Baidu’s competitors. So long as Baidu remains our controlling shareholder, we may be limited in our ability to do business with its competitors. This may limit our ability to market our services for the best interests of our company and our other shareholders.

 

Allocation of business opportunities. Business opportunities may arise that both we and Baidu find attractive, and which would complement our businesses. We may be prevented from taking advantage of new business opportunities that Baidu has entered into.

Although our company became a stand-alone public company in March 2018, we expect to operate, for as long as Baidu is our controlling shareholder, as a subsidiary of Baidu. Baidu may from time to time make strategic decisions that it believes are in the best interests of its business as a whole, including our company. These decisions may be different from the decisions that we would have made on our own. Baidu’s decisions with respect to us or our business, including any related party transactions between Baidu and us, may be resolved in ways that favor Baidu and therefore Baidu’s own shareholders, which may not coincide with the interests of our other shareholders. If Baidu were to compete with us, our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be materially and adversely affected.

Our agreements with Baidu may be less favorable to us than similar agreements negotiated with unaffiliated third parties. In particular, our master business cooperation agreement with Baidu limits the scope of business that we are allowed to conduct.

We have entered into a master business cooperation agreement with Baidu and may enter into additional agreements with Baidu in the future. Under our master business cooperation agreement with Baidu, we agree during the non-competition period, which will end on the eighth anniversary of the date of execution of the agreement unless otherwise terminated earlier pursuant to the agreement, not to compete with Baidu in its core businesses. Such contractual limitations may affect our ability to expand our business and may adversely impact our growth and prospects. Furthermore, while Baidu has agreed not to compete with us in our long-form video businesses, existing business activities conducted by Baidu and its affiliates are not subject to such non-compete limitation. Potential conflicts of interest could arise in connection with the resolution of any dispute between Baidu and us, regarding the terms of the arrangements governing our agreements with Baidu including the master business cooperation agreement. For example, so long as Baidu continues to control us, we may not be able to bring a legal claim against Baidu in the event of contractual breach, notwithstanding our contractual rights under the master business cooperation agreement and other inter-company agreements to be entered into by Baidu and us from time to time.

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If our collaboration with Baidu is terminated or curtailed, or if we are no longer able to benefit from the synergies of our business cooperation with Baidu, our business may be adversely affected.

Our controlling shareholder and strategic partner, Baidu, is one of the largest internet companies in China. Our business has benefited significantly from Baidu’s advanced technological capabilities and strong market position in China. In addition, we have benefited from Baidu’s financial support in the past. We cooperate with Baidu in a number of areas, including AI technology, cloud services and traffic. However, we cannot assure you that we will continue to maintain our cooperative relationships with Baidu and its affiliates in the future. To the extent we cannot maintain our cooperative relationships with Baidu at reasonable prices or at all, we will need to source other business partners to provide services, which could result in material and adverse effects to our business and results of operations. We may also need to obtain financing through other means if Baidu ceases to provide financial support to us. In addition, our current customers and content partners may react negatively to our carve-out from Baidu. Our inability to maintain a cooperative relationship with Baidu could materially and adversely affect our business, growth and prospects.

Baidu will control the outcome of shareholder actions in our company.

As of February 28, 2019, Baidu holds 56.7% of our outstanding ordinary shares, representing 92.9% of our total voting power. Baidu has advised us that it does not anticipate disposing of its voting control in us in the near future. Baidu’s voting power gives it the power to control certain actions that require shareholder approval under Cayman Islands law, our memorandum and articles of association and the Nasdaq Global Market requirements, including approval of mergers and other business combinations, changes to our memorandum and articles of association, the number of shares available for issuance under any share incentive plans, and the issuance of significant amounts of our ordinary shares in private placements.

Baidu’s voting control may cause transactions to occur that might not be beneficial to you as a holder of ADSs and may prevent transactions that could have been beneficial to you. For example, Baidu’s voting control may prevent a transaction involving a change of control of us, including transactions in which you as a holder of our ADSs might otherwise receive a premium for your securities over the then-current market price. In addition, Baidu is not prohibited from selling a controlling interest in us to a third party and may do so without your approval and without providing for a purchase of your ADSs. In addition, the significant concentration of share ownership may adversely affect the trading price of the ADSs due to investors’ perception that conflicts of interest may exist or arise.

We are a “controlled company” within the meaning of the Nasdaq Stock Market Rules and, as a result, will rely on exemptions from certain corporate governance requirements that provide protection to shareholders of other companies.

We are a “controlled company” as defined under the Nasdaq Stock Market Rules because Baidu beneficially owns more than 50% of our total voting power. For so long as we remain a controlled company under that definition, we are permitted to elect to rely, and will rely, on certain exemptions from corporate governance rules, including:

 

an exemption from the rule that a majority of our board of directors must be independent directors;

 

an exemption from the rule that the compensation of our chief executive officer must be determined or recommended solely by independent directors; and

 

an exemption from the rule that our director nominees must be selected or recommended solely by independent directors.

As a result, you will not have the same protection afforded to shareholders of companies that are subject to these corporate governance requirements.

Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure

If the PRC government finds that the agreements that establish the structure for operating certain of our operations in China do not comply with PRC regulations relating to the relevant industries, or if these regulations or the interpretation of existing regulations change in the future, we could be subject to severe penalties or be forced to relinquish our interests in those operations.

Foreign ownership of telecommunication businesses and certain other businesses, such as provision of internet video, online advertising and online game services, is subject to restrictions under current PRC laws and regulations. For example, foreign investors are generally not allowed to own more than 50% of the equity interests in a commercial internet content provider or other value-added telecommunication service provider (other than operating e-commerce) and the major foreign investor in a value-added telecommunication service provider in China must have experience in providing value-added telecommunications services overseas and maintain a good track record in accordance with the Guidance Catalog of Industries for Foreign Investment promulgated in 2007, as amended in 2011, 2015 and 2017, the Special Administrative Measures for Access of Foreign Investment (Negative List) (2018), and other applicable laws and regulations.

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In addition, foreign investors are prohibited from investing in companies engaged in internet video, culture and publishing business and film/drama production business. We are a Cayman Islands company and our PRC subsidiaries are considered foreign-invested enterprises. Accordingly, none of our PRC subsidiaries is eligible to operate internet video, online advertising services and other businesses which foreign-owned companies are prohibited or restricted from conducting in China. To comply with PRC laws and regulations, we conduct such business activities through our consolidated affiliated entities in China, Beijing iQIYI, Shanghai iQIYI, Shanghai Zhong Yuan, iQIYI Pictures and Beijing iQIYI Cinema, and their subsidiaries. Our wholly owned subsidiaries, Beijing QIYI Century and iQIYI New Media, have entered into contractual arrangements with our consolidated affiliated entities and their respective shareholders, and such contractual arrangements enable us to exercise effective control over, receive substantially all of the economic benefits of, and have an exclusive option to purchase all or part of the equity interest and assets in our consolidated affiliated entities when and to the extent permitted by PRC law. Because of these contractual arrangements, we are the primary beneficiary of our consolidated affiliated entities in China and hence consolidate their financial results as our variable interest entities under U.S. GAAP. If the PRC government finds that our contractual arrangements do not comply with its restrictions on foreign investment in online video, online advertising and other foreign-restricted services, or if the PRC government otherwise finds that we, our consolidated affiliated entities, or any of their subsidiaries are in violation of PRC laws or regulations or lack the necessary permits or licenses to operate our business, the relevant PRC regulatory authorities, including the MIIT, NRTA, the SFB, the SAPP, the Ministry of Culture and the MOFCOM, would have broad discretion in dealing with such violations or failures, including, without limitation:

 

revoking the business licenses and/or operating licenses of such entities;

 

discontinuing or placing restrictions or onerous conditions on our operation through any transactions between our PRC subsidiaries and consolidated affiliated entities;

 

imposing fines, confiscating the income from our PRC subsidiaries or our consolidated affiliated entities, or imposing other requirements with which we or our consolidated affiliated entities may not be able to comply;

 

requiring us to restructure our ownership structure or operations, including terminating the contractual arrangements with our consolidated affiliated entities and deregistering the equity pledges of our consolidated affiliated entities, which in turn would affect our ability to consolidate, derive economic interests from, or exert effective control over our consolidated affiliated entities; or

 

restricting or prohibiting our use of the proceeds of our initial public offering to finance our business and operations in China.

In addition, in September 2009, the GAPP together with several other government agencies issued a notice, or the Circular 13, prohibiting foreign investors from participating in online game operating businesses through wholly-owned enterprises, equity joint ventures or cooperative joint ventures in China. Circular 13 expressly prohibits foreign investors from gaining control over or participating in PRC operating companies’ online game operations through indirect means, such as establishing joint venture companies, entering into contractual arrangements with or providing technical support to the operating companies, or through a disguised form, such as incorporating user registration, user account management or payment through game cards into online game platforms that are ultimately controlled or owned by foreign investors. Other government agencies that also have the authority to regulate online game operations in China, such as the Ministry of Culture and the MIIT, did not join the GAPP in issuing the Circular 13. The GAPP was replaced by the SAPPRFT and later by the SAPP. To date, none of the GAPP, the SAPPRFT and the SAPP has issued any interpretation of the Circular 13. Due to the ambiguity among various regulations on online games and a lack of interpretations from the relevant PRC authorities governing online game operations, there are uncertainties regarding whether PRC authorities would consider our relevant contractual arrangements to be foreign investment in online game operation businesses. While we are not aware of any online game companies which use the same or similar contractual arrangements as ours having been penalized or ordered to terminate operation by PRC authorities claiming that the contractual arrangements constitute control over, or participation in, the operation of online game operations through indirect means, it is unclear whether and how the various regulations of the PRC authorities might be interpreted or implemented in the future. If our relevant contractual arrangements were deemed to be “indirect means” or “disguised form” under the Circular 13, the relevant contractual arrangements may be challenged by the SAPP or other governmental authorities. If we were found to be in violation of the Circular 13 to operate our mobile game business, the SAPP, in conjunction with relevant regulatory authorities, would have the power to investigate and deal with such violations, including in the most serious cases, suspending or revoking the relevant licenses and registrations. If we were found to be in violation of any existing or future PRC laws or regulations, including the MIIT notice and the Circular 13, the relevant regulatory authorities would have broad discretion in dealing with such violations.

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Furthermore, it is uncertain whether any new PRC laws, rules or regulations relating to contractual arrangements will be adopted or if adopted, what they would provide. In particular, in December 2018, the standing committee of the National People’s Congress reviewed a draft Foreign Investment Law, and this draft was subsequently published for public comment. In March 2019, a new draft of Foreign Investment Law was submitted to the National People’s Congress for review and was approved on March 15, 2019, which will come into effect from January 1, 2020. The approved Foreign Investment Law does not touch upon the relevant concepts and regulatory regimes that were historically suggested for the regulation of VIE structures, and thus this regulatory topic remains unclear under the Foreign Investment Law. Since the Foreign Investment Law is new, there are substantial uncertainties exist with respect to its implementation and interpretation and it is also possible that variable interest entities will be deemed as foreign invested enterprises and be subject to restrictions in the future. Such restrictions may cause interruptions to our operations, products and services and may incur additional compliance cost, which may in turn materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Any of these events could cause significant disruption to our business operations and severely damage our reputation, which would in turn materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. If occurrences of any of these events results in our inability to direct the activities of our consolidated affiliated entities in China that most significantly impact their economic performance, and/or our failure to receive the economic benefits from our consolidated affiliated entities, we may not be able to consolidate the entity in our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP.

We rely on contractual arrangements with our consolidated affiliated entities and their shareholders for our business operations, which may not be as effective as direct ownership in providing operational control.

We have relied and expect to continue to rely on contractual arrangements with consolidated affiliated entities and their shareholders to operate our business in China. For a description of these contractual arrangements, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—C. Organizational Structure” These contractual arrangements may not be as effective as direct ownership in providing us with control over our consolidated affiliated entities. For example, our consolidated affiliated and their shareholders could breach their contractual arrangements with us by, among other things, failing to conduct its operations in an acceptable manner or taking other actions that are detrimental to our interests.

If we had direct ownership of our consolidated affiliated entities in China, we would be able to exercise our rights as a shareholder to effect changes in the board of directors of our consolidated affiliated entities, which in turn could implement changes, subject to any applicable fiduciary obligations, at the management and operational level. However, under the current contractual arrangements, we rely on the performance by our consolidated affiliated entities and their shareholders of their obligations under the contracts to exercise control over our consolidated affiliated entities. The shareholders of our consolidated affiliated entities may not act in the best interests of our company or may not perform their obligations under these contracts. Such risks exist throughout the period in which we intend to operate certain portion of our business through the contractual arrangements with our consolidated affiliated entities. If any dispute relating to these contracts remains unresolved, we will have to enforce our rights under these contracts through the operations of PRC law and arbitration, litigation and other legal proceedings and therefore will be subject to uncertainties in the PRC legal system. Therefore, our contractual arrangements with our consolidated affiliated entities may not be as effective in ensuring our control over the relevant portion of our business operations as direct ownership would be.

Any failure by our consolidated affiliated entities or their shareholders to perform their obligations under our contractual arrangements with them would have a material and adverse effect on our business.

If our consolidated affiliated entities or their shareholders fail to perform their respective obligations under the contractual arrangements, we may have to incur substantial costs and expend additional resources to enforce such arrangements. We may also have to rely on legal remedies under PRC law, including seeking specific performance or injunctive relief, and claiming damages, which we cannot assure you will be effective under PRC law. For example, if the shareholders of our consolidated affiliated entities were to refuse to transfer their equity interests in our consolidated affiliated entities to us or our designee if we exercise the purchase option pursuant to these contractual arrangements, or if they were otherwise to act in bad faith toward us, then we may have to take legal actions to compel them to perform their contractual obligations.

All the agreements under our contractual arrangements are governed by PRC law and provide for the resolution of disputes through arbitration in China. Accordingly, these contracts would be interpreted in accordance with PRC law and any disputes would be resolved in accordance with PRC legal procedures. The legal system in the PRC is not as developed as in some other jurisdictions, such as the United States. As a result, uncertainties in the PRC legal system could limit our ability to enforce these contractual arrangements. Meanwhile, there are very few precedents and little formal guidance as to how contractual arrangements in the context of a consolidated affiliated entity should be interpreted or enforced under PRC law. There remain significant uncertainties regarding the ultimate outcome of such arbitration should legal action become necessary. In addition, under PRC law, rulings by arbitrators are final, parties cannot appeal the arbitration results in courts, and if the losing parties fail to carry out the arbitration awards within a prescribed time limit, the

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prevailing parties may only enforce the arbitration awards in PRC courts through arbitration award recognition proceedings, which would require additional expenses and delay. In the event we are unable to enforce these contractual arrangements, or if we suffer significant delay or other obstacles in the process of enforcing these contractual arrangements, we may not be able to exert effective control over our consolidated affiliated entities, and our ability to conduct our business may be negatively affected. See “Risks Related to Doing Business in China— Uncertainties with respect to the PRC legal system could adversely affect us.”

The shareholders of our consolidated affiliated entities may have potential conflicts of interest with us, which may materially and adversely affect our business and financial condition.

The shareholders of our consolidated affiliated entities may have potential conflicts of interest with us. In particular, none of Mr. Ning Ya, who currently holds 50% of equity interest in iQIYI Pictures, and Mr. Xiaohua Geng, who currently holds 50% of the equity interests in Shanghai iQIYI and 100% of the equity interests in Beijing iQIYI, is our director or executive officer, and we cannot assure you that their interests will be aligned with ours. These shareholders may breach, or cause our consolidated affiliated entities to breach, or refuse to renew, the existing contractual arrangements we have with them and our consolidated affiliated entities, which would have a material and adverse effect on our ability to effectively control our consolidated affiliated entities and receive economic benefits from it. For example, the shareholders may be able to cause our agreements with our consolidated affiliated entities to be performed in a manner adverse to us by, among other things, failing to remit payments due under the contractual arrangements to us on a timely basis. We cannot assure you that when conflicts of interest arise, any or all of these shareholders will act in the best interests of our company or such conflicts will be resolved in our favor. Currently, we do not have any arrangements to address potential conflicts of interest between these shareholders and our company. If we cannot resolve any conflict of interest or dispute between us and these shareholders, we would have to rely on legal proceedings, which could result in disruption of our business and subject us to substantial uncertainty as to the outcome of any such legal proceedings.

Contractual arrangements in relation to our consolidated affiliated entities may be subject to scrutiny by the PRC tax authorities and they may determine that we or our PRC consolidated affiliated entities owe additional taxes, which could negatively affect our financial condition and the value of your investment.

Under applicable PRC laws and regulations, arrangements and transactions among related parties may be subject to audit or challenge by the PRC tax authorities within ten years after the taxable year when the transactions are conducted. We could face material and adverse tax consequences if the PRC tax authorities determine that the VIE contractual arrangements were not entered into on an arm’s length basis in such a way as to result in an impermissible reduction in taxes under applicable PRC laws, rules and regulations, and adjust income of our consolidated affiliated entities in the form of a transfer pricing adjustment. A transfer pricing adjustment could, among other things, result in a reduction of expense deductions recorded by our consolidated affiliated entities for PRC tax purposes, which could in turn increase its tax liabilities without reducing our PRC subsidiary’s tax expenses. In addition, the PRC tax authorities may impose late payment fees and other penalties on our consolidated affiliated entities for the adjusted but unpaid taxes according to the applicable regulations. Our financial position could be materially and adversely affected if our variable interest entities’ tax liabilities increase or if it is required to pay late payment fees and other penalties.

We may lose the ability to use and enjoy assets held by our consolidated affiliated entities that are material to the operation of certain portion of our business if the entity goes bankrupt or becomes subject to a dissolution or liquidation proceeding.

As part of our contractual arrangements with our consolidated affiliated entities, the entities hold certain assets that are material to the operation of certain portion of our business, including permits, domain names and most of our IP rights. If our consolidated affiliated entities go bankrupt and all or part of its assets become subject to liens or rights of third-party creditors, we may be unable to continue some or all of our business activities, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Under the contractual arrangements, our consolidated affiliated entities may not, in any manner, sell, transfer, mortgage or dispose of their assets or legal or beneficial interests in the business without our prior consent. If our consolidated affiliated entities undergo a voluntary or involuntary liquidation proceeding, the independent third-party creditors may claim rights to some or all of these assets, thereby hindering our ability to operate our business, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Uncertainties exist with respect to the interpretation and implementation of the newly enacted PRC Foreign Investment Law and how it may impact the viability of our current corporate structure, corporate governance and business operations.

On March 15, 2019, the National People’s Congress approved the Foreign Investment Law, which will come into effect on January 1, 2020 and replace the trio of existing laws regulating foreign investment in China, namely, the Sino-foreign Equity Joint Venture Enterprise Law, the Sino-foreign Cooperative Joint Venture Enterprise Law and the Wholly Foreign-invested Enterprise Law, together with their implementation rules and ancillary regulations. The Foreign Investment Law embodies an expected PRC regulatory trend to rationalize its foreign investment regulatory regime in line with prevailing international practice and the legislative efforts to unify the corporate legal requirements for both foreign and domestic investments. However, since it is relatively new, uncertainties

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still exist in relation to its interpretation and implementation. For instance, under the Foreign Investment Law, “foreign investment” refers to the investment activities directly or indirectly conducted by foreign individuals, enterprises or other entities in China. Though it does not explicitly classify contractual arrangements as a form of foreign investment, there is no assurance that foreign investment via contractual arrangement would not be interpreted as a type of indirect foreign investment activities under the definition in the future. In addition, the definition contains a catch-all provision which includes investments made by foreign investors through means stipulated in laws or administrative regulations or other methods prescribed by the State Council. Therefore, it still leaves leeway for future laws, administrative regulations or provisions promulgated by the Stale Council to provide for contractual arrangements as a form of foreign investment. In any of these cases, it will be uncertain whether our contractual arrangements will be deemed to be in violation of the market access requirements for foreign investment under the PRC laws and regulations. Furthermore, if future laws, administrative regulations or provisions prescribed by the State Council mandate further actions to be taken by companies with respect to existing contractual arrangements, we may face substantial uncertainties as to whether we can complete such actions in a timely manner, or at all. Failure to take timely and appropriate measures to cope with any of these or similar regulatory compliance challenges could materially and adversely affect our current corporate structure, corporate governance and business operations.

Risks Related to Doing Business in China

Changes in China’s economic, political or social conditions or government policies could have a material adverse effect on our business and operations.

Substantially all of our operations are located in China. Accordingly, our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects may be influenced to a significant degree by political, economic, social conditions and government policies in China generally. The Chinese economy differs from the economies of most developed countries in many respects, including the level of government involvement, level of development, growth rate, control of foreign exchange and allocation of resources. Although the Chinese government has implemented measures emphasizing the utilization of market forces for economic reform, the reduction of state ownership of productive assets, and the establishment of improved corporate governance in business enterprises, a substantial portion of productive assets in China is still owned by the government. In addition, the Chinese government continues to play a significant role in regulating industry development by imposing industrial policies. The Chinese government also exercises significant control over China’s economic growth through allocating resources, controlling payment of foreign currency-denominated obligations, setting monetary policy, and providing preferential treatment to particular industries or companies.

While the Chinese economy has experienced significant growth over the past decades, growth has been uneven, both geographically and among various sectors of the economy, and the rate of growth has been slowing since 2012. Any adverse changes in economic conditions in China, in the policies of the Chinese government or in the laws and regulations in China could have a material adverse effect on the overall economic growth of China. Such developments could adversely affect our business and operating results, lead to reduction in demand for our services and adversely affect our competitive position. The Chinese government has implemented various measures to encourage economic growth and guide the allocation of resources. Some of these measures may benefit the overall Chinese economy, but may have a negative effect on us. For example, our financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected by government control over capital investments or changes in tax regulations. In addition, in the past the Chinese government has implemented certain measures, including interest rate adjustment, to control the pace of economic growth. These measures may cause decreased economic activity in China, which may adversely affect our business and operating results.

Uncertainties with respect to the PRC legal system could adversely affect us.

The PRC legal system is a civil law system based on written statutes. Unlike the common law system, prior court decisions under the civil law system may be cited for reference but have limited precedential value. Since these laws and regulations are relatively new and the PRC legal system continues to rapidly evolve, the interpretations of many laws, regulations and rules are not always uniform and the enforcement of these laws, regulations and rules involves uncertainties.

In 1979, the PRC government began to promulgate a comprehensive system of laws and regulations governing economic matters in general. The overall effect of legislation over the past three decades has significantly enhanced the protections afforded to various forms of foreign investments in China. However, China has not developed a fully integrated legal system, and recently enacted laws and regulations may not sufficiently cover all aspects of economic activities in China. In particular, the interpretation and enforcement of these laws and regulations involve uncertainties. Since PRC administrative and court authorities have significant discretion in interpreting and implementing statutory provisions and contractual terms, it may be difficult to evaluate the outcome of administrative and court proceedings and the level of legal protection we enjoy. These uncertainties may affect our judgment on the relevance of legal requirements and our ability to enforce our contractual rights or tort claims. In addition, the regulatory uncertainties may be exploited through unmerited or frivolous legal actions or threats in attempts to extract payments or benefits from us.

Furthermore, the PRC legal system is based in part on government policies and internal rules, some of which are not published on a timely basis or at all and may have retroactive effect. As a result, we may not be aware of our violation of any of these policies

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and rules until sometime after the violation. In addition, any administrative and court proceedings in China may be protracted, resulting in substantial costs and diversion of resources and management attention.

We may rely on dividends and other distributions on equity paid by our PRC subsidiaries to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have, and any limitation on the ability of our PRC subsidiaries to make payments to us and any tax we are required to pay could have a material and adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business.

We are a Cayman Islands holding company and we may rely on dividends and other distributions on equity from our PRC subsidiaries for our cash requirements, including the funds necessary to pay dividends and other cash distributions to our shareholders and for services of any debt we may incur. Our subsidiaries’ ability to distribute dividends is based upon their distributable earnings. Current PRC regulations permit our PRC subsidiaries to pay dividends to their respective shareholders only out of their accumulated profits, if any, determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards and regulations. In addition, each of our PRC subsidiaries and our consolidated affiliated entities is required to set aside at least 10% of its after-tax profits each year, if any, to fund a statutory reserve until such reserve reaches 50% of its registered capital. Each of such entities in China is also required to further set aside a portion of its after-tax profits to fund the employee welfare fund, although the amount to be set aside, if any, is determined at the discretion of its board of directors. These reserves are not distributable as cash dividends. If our PRC subsidiaries incur debt on their own behalf in the future, the instruments governing the debt may restrict their ability to pay dividends or make other payments to us. Any limitation on the ability of our PRC subsidiaries to distribute dividends or other payments to their respective shareholders could materially and adversely limit our ability to grow, make investments or acquisitions that could be beneficial to our businesses, pay dividends or otherwise fund and conduct our business.

In response to the persistent capital outflow and RMB’s depreciation against U.S. dollar in the fourth quarter of 2016, the People’s Bank of China and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, or SAFE, have implemented a series of capital control measures over recent months, including stricter vetting procedures for China-based companies to remit foreign currency for overseas acquisitions, dividend payments and shareholder loan repayments. For instance, the People’s Bank of China issued the Circular on Further Clarification of Relevant Matters Relating to Offshore RMB Loans Provided by Domestic Enterprises, or the PBOC Circular 306, on November 22, 2016, which provides that offshore RMB loans provided by a domestic enterprise to offshore enterprises that it holds equity interests in shall not exceed 30% of the domestic enterprise’s ownership interest in the offshore enterprise. The PBOC Circular 306 may constrain our PRC subsidiaries’ ability to provide offshore loans to us. The PRC government may continue to strengthen its capital controls and our PRC subsidiaries’ dividends and other distributions may be subjected to tighter scrutiny in the future. Any limitation on the ability of our PRC subsidiaries to pay dividends or make other distributions to us could materially and adversely limit our ability to grow, make investments or acquisitions that could be beneficial to our business, pay dividends, or otherwise fund and conduct our business.

Under the EIT Law and related regulations, dividends, interests, rent or royalties payable by a foreign-invested enterprise, such as our PRC subsidiaries, to any of its foreign non-resident enterprise investors, and proceeds from any such foreign enterprise investor’s disposition of assets (after deducting the net value of such assets) are subject to a 10% withholding tax, unless the foreign enterprise investor’s jurisdiction of incorporation has a tax treaty with China that provides for a reduced rate of withholding tax. Undistributed profits earned by foreign-invested enterprises prior to January 1, 2008 are exempted from any withholding tax. The Cayman Islands, where iQIYI, Inc., the direct parent company of our PRC subsidiaries Beijing QIYI Century Science & Technology Co., Ltd., and Chongqing QIYI Tianxia Science & Technology Co., Ltd., is incorporated, does not have such a tax treaty with China. Hong Kong has a tax arrangement with China that provides for a 5% withholding tax on dividends subject to certain conditions and requirements, such as the requirement that the Hong Kong resident enterprise own at least 25% of the PRC enterprise distributing the dividend at all times within the 12-month period immediately preceding the distribution of dividends and be a “beneficial owner” of the dividends. For example, IQIYI Film Group HK Limited, which directly owns our PRC subsidiaries Beijing iQIYI New Media Science and Technology Co., Ltd., is incorporated in Hong Kong. However, if IQIYI Film Group HK Limited is not considered to be the beneficial owner of dividends paid to it by Beijing iQIYI New Media Science and Technology Co., Ltd. under the tax circulars promulgated in February and October 2009, such dividends would be subject to withholding tax at a rate of 10%. If our PRC subsidiaries declare and distribute profits to us, such payments will be subject to withholding tax, which will increase our tax liability and reduce the amount of cash available to our company.

PRC regulation of loans to and direct investment in PRC entities by offshore holding companies and governmental control of currency conversion may delay or prevent us from using the proceeds of our initial public offering to make loans to or make additional capital contributions to our PRC subsidiaries and consolidated affiliated entities, which could materially and adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business.

Any funds we transfer to our PRC subsidiaries, either as a shareholder loan or as an increase in registered capital, are subject to approval by or registration or filing with relevant governmental authorities in China. According to the relevant PRC regulations on foreign-invested enterprises, or FIEs, in China, capital contributions to our PRC subsidiaries are subject to filing with the MOFCOM

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in its foreign investment comprehensive management information system and registration with other governmental authorities in China. In addition, (a) any foreign loan procured by our PRC subsidiaries and consolidated affiliated entities is required to be registered with the SAFE or its local branches or filed with SAFE in its information system, and (b) each of our PRC subsidiaries and consolidated affiliated entities may not procure loans which exceed the difference between its registered capital and its total investment amount as recorded in the foreign investment comprehensive management information system or, as an alternative, only procure loans subject to the Risk-Weighted Approach and the Net Asset Limits. See “Regulation—Regulations on Foreign Exchange”. Any medium or long term loan to be provided by us to our consolidated affiliated entities must also be approved by the NDRC. We may not obtain these government approvals or complete such registrations on a timely basis, if at all, with respect to future capital contributions or foreign loans by us to our PRC subsidiaries and consolidated affiliated entities. If we fail to receive such approvals or complete such registration or filing, our ability to use the proceeds of our initial public offering and to capitalize our PRC operations may be negatively affected, which could adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business. There is, in effect, no statutory limit on the amount of capital contribution that we can make to our PRC subsidiaries. This is because there is no statutory limit on the amount of registered capital for our PRC subsidiaries, and we are allowed to make capital contributions to our PRC subsidiaries by subscribing for their initial registered capital and increased registered capital, provided that the PRC subsidiaries completes the relevant filing and registration procedures. With respect to loans to the PRC subsidiaries by us, (i) if the relevant PRC subsidiaries adopt the traditional foreign exchange administration mechanism, or the Current Foreign Debt mechanism, the outstanding amount of the loans shall not exceed the difference between the total investment and the registered capital of the PRC subsidiaries and there is, in effect, no statutory limit on the amount of loans that we can make to our PRC subsidiaries under this circumstance because we can increase the registered capital of our PRC subsidiaries by making capital contributions to them, subject to the completion of the required registrations, and the difference between the total investment and the registered capital will increase accordingly; and (ii) if the relevant PRC subsidiaries adopt the foreign exchange administration mechanism as provided in the PBOC Notice No. 9, or the Notice No. 9 Foreign Debt mechanism, the risk-weighted outstanding amount of the loans, which shall be calculated based on the formula provided in the PBOC Notice No. 9, shall not exceed 200% of the net asset of the relevant PRC subsidiary. According to the PBOC Notice No. 9, after a transition period of one year since the promulgation of the PBOC Notice No. 9, the PBOC and SAFE will determine the cross-border financing administration mechanism for the foreign-invested enterprises after evaluating the overall implementation of the PBOC Notice No. 9. As of the date hereof, neither PBOC nor SAFE has promulgated and made public any further rules, regulations, notices or circulars in this regard. It is uncertain which mechanism will be adopted by PBOC and SAFE in the future and what statutory limits will be imposed on us when providing loans to our PRC subsidiaries. Currently, our PRC subsidiaries have the flexibility to choose between the Current Foreign Debt mechanism and the Notice No. 9 Foreign Debt mechanism. However, if the Notice No. 9 Foreign Debt Mechanism, or a more stringent foreign debt mechanism becomes mandatory and our PRC subsidiaries are no longer able to choose the Current Foreign Debt mechanism, our ability to provide loans to our PRC subsidiaries or our consolidated affiliated entities may be significantly limited, which may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

In 2008, the SAFE promulgated the Circular on the Relevant Operating Issues Concerning the Improvement of the Administration of the Payment and Settlement of Foreign Currency Capital of Foreign-Invested Enterprises, or SAFE Circular 142. SAFE Circular 142 regulates the conversion by FIEs of foreign currency into Renminbi by restricting the usage of converted Renminbi. SAFE Circular 142 provides that any Renminbi capital converted from registered capitals in foreign currency of FIEs may only be used for purposes within the business scopes approved by PRC governmental authority and such Renminbi capital may not be used for equity investments within China unless otherwise permitted by the PRC law. In addition, the SAFE strengthened its oversight of the flow and use of the Renminbi capital converted from registered capital in foreign currency of FIEs. The use of such Renminbi capital may not be changed without SAFE approval, and such Renminbi capital may not in any case be used to repay Renminbi loans if the proceeds of such loans have not been utilized. On April 8, 2015, the SAFE promulgated the Circular on Reforming the Management Approach Regarding the Foreign Exchange Capital Settlement of Foreign-Invested Enterprises, or SAFE Circular 19. SAFE Circular 19 took effect as of June 1, 2015 and superseded SAFE Circular 142 on the same date. SAFE further promulgated Circular 16, effective on June 9, 2016, which, among other things, amend certain provisions of Circular 19. SAFE Circulars 19 and 16 launched a nationwide reform of the administration of the settlement of the foreign exchange capitals of FIEs and allows FIEs to settle their foreign exchange capital at their discretion, but continues to prohibit FIEs from using the Renminbi fund converted from their foreign exchange capitals for expenditure beyond their business scopes, and also prohibit FIEs from using such Renminbi fund to provide loans to persons other than affiliates unless otherwise permitted under its business scope. As a result, we are required to apply Renminbi funds converted from the net proceeds we received from our initial public offering within the business scopes of our PRC subsidiaries. SAFE Circular 19 and 16 may significantly limit our ability to transfer to and use in China the net proceeds from our initial public offering, which may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Fluctuations in exchange rates could have a material and adverse effect on our results of operations and the value of your investment.

The value of the Renminbi against the U.S. dollar and other currencies may fluctuate and is affected by, among other things, changes in political and economic conditions in China and by China’s foreign exchange policies. On July 21, 2005, the PRC

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government changed its decade-old policy of pegging the value of the Renminbi to the U.S. dollar, and the Renminbi appreciated more than 20% against the U.S. dollar over the following three years. Between July 2008 and June 2010, this appreciation halted and the exchange rate between the Renminbi and the U.S. dollar remained within a narrow band. Since June 2010, the Renminbi has fluctuated against the U.S. dollar, at times significantly and unpredictably. In 2018, the RMB depreciated significantly in the backdrop of a surging U.S. dollar and persistent capital outflows of China. With the development of the foreign exchange market and progress towards interest rate liberalization and Renminbi internationalization, the PRC government may in the future announce further changes to the exchange rate system and we cannot assure you that the Renminbi will not appreciate or depreciate significantly in value against the U.S. dollar in the future. It is difficult to predict how market forces or PRC or U.S. government policy may impact the exchange rate between the Renminbi and the U.S. dollar in the future.

Significant fluctuation of the Renminbi may have a material and adverse effect on your investment. For example, to the extent that we need to convert U.S. dollars into Renminbi for our operations, appreciation of the Renminbi against the U.S. dollar would have an adverse effect on the Renminbi amount we would receive from the conversion. Conversely, if we decide to convert our Renminbi into U.S. dollars for the purpose of making payments for dividends on our ordinary shares or ADSs or for other business purposes, appreciation of the U.S. dollar against the Renminbi would have a negative effect on the U.S. dollar amount available to us.

Very limited hedging options are available in China to reduce our exposure to exchange rate fluctuations. To date, we have not entered into any material hedging transactions in an effort to reduce our exposure to foreign currency exchange risk. While we may decide to enter into hedging transactions in the future, the availability and effectiveness of these hedges may be limited and we may not be able to adequately hedge our exposure or at all. In addition, our currency exchange losses may be magnified by PRC exchange control regulations that restrict our ability to convert Renminbi into foreign currency.

Our use of some leased properties could be challenged by third parties or governmental authorities, which may cause interruptions to our business operations.

As of the date of this annual report, some of the lessors of our properties leased by us in China have not provided us with their property ownership certificates or any other documentation proving their right to lease those properties to us. If our lessors are not the owners of the properties and they have not obtained consents from the owners or their lessors or permits from the relevant governmental authorities, our leases could be invalidated. If this occurs, we may have to renegotiate the leases with the owners or other parties who have the right to lease the properties, and the terms of the new leases may be less favorable to us. Although we may seek damages from such lessors, such leases may be void and we may be forced to relocate. We can provide no assurance that we will be able to find suitable replacement sites on terms acceptable to us on a timely basis, or at all, or that we will not be subject to material liability resulting from third parties’ challenges on our use of such properties. As a result, our business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

In addition, a substantial portion of our leasehold interests in leased properties have not been registered with the relevant PRC governmental authorities as required by relevant PRC laws. The failure to register leasehold interests may expose us to potential warnings and penalties up to RMB 10,000 per unregistered leased property.

The enforcement of the PRC Labor Contract Law and other labor-related regulations in the PRC may adversely affect our business and results of operations.

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress enacted the Labor Contract Law in 2008, and amended it on December 28, 2012. The Labor Contract Law introduced specific provisions related to fixed-term employment contracts, part-time employment, probationary periods, consultation with labor unions and employee assemblies, employment without a written contract, dismissal of employees, severance, and collective bargaining to enhance previous PRC labor laws. Under the Labor Contract Law, an employer is obligated to sign an unlimited-term labor contract with any employee who has worked for the employer for ten consecutive years. Further, if an employee requests or agrees to renew a fixed-term labor contract that has already been entered into twice consecutively, the resulting contract, with certain exceptions, must have an unlimited term, subject to certain exceptions. With certain exceptions, an employer must pay severance to an employee where a labor contract is terminated or expires. In addition, the PRC governmental authorities have continued to introduce various new labor-related regulations since the effectiveness of the Labor Contract Law.

Under the PRC Social Insurance Law and the Administrative Measures on Housing Fund, employees are required to participate in pension insurance, work-related injury insurance, medical insurance, unemployment insurance, maternity insurance, and housing funds and employers are required, together with their employees or separately, to pay the social insurance premiums and housing funds for their employees. If we fail to make adequate social insurance and housing fund contributions, we may be subject to fines and legal sanctions, and our business, financial conditions and results of operations may be adversely affected.

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These laws designed to enhance labor protection tend to increase our labor costs. In addition, as the interpretation and implementation of these regulations are still evolving, our employment practices may not be at all times be deemed in compliance with the regulations. As a result, we could be subject to penalties or incur significant liabilities in connection with labor disputes or investigations.

The M&A Rules and certain other PRC regulations establish complex procedures for some acquisitions of Chinese companies by foreign investors, which could make it more difficult for us to pursue growth through acquisitions in China.

The Regulations on Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Companies by Foreign Investors, or the M&A Rules, adopted by six PRC regulatory agencies in 2006 and amended in 2009, and some other regulations and rules concerning mergers and acquisitions established additional procedures and requirements that could make merger and acquisition activities by foreign investors more time consuming and complex, including requirements in some instances that the MOC be notified in advance of any change-of-control transaction in which a foreign investor takes control of a PRC domestic enterprise. Moreover, the Anti-Monopoly Law requires that the MOC shall be notified in advance of any concentration of undertaking if certain thresholds are triggered. In addition, the security review rules issued by the MOC that became effective in September 2011 specify that mergers and acquisitions by foreign investors that raise “national defense and security” concerns and mergers and acquisitions through which foreign investors may acquire de facto control over domestic enterprises that raise “national security” concerns are subject to strict review by the MOC, and the rules prohibit any activities attempting to bypass a security review, including by structuring the transaction through a proxy or contractual control arrangement. In the future, we may grow our business by acquiring complementary businesses. Complying with the requirements of the above-mentioned regulations and other relevant rules to complete such transactions could be time consuming, and any required approval processes, including obtaining approval from the MOC or its local counterparts may delay or inhibit our ability to complete such transactions, which could affect our ability to expand our business or maintain our market share.

PRC regulations relating to the establishment of offshore special purpose companies by PRC residents may subject our PRC resident beneficial owners or our PRC subsidiaries to liability or penalties, limit our ability to inject capital into our PRC subsidiaries, limit our PRC subsidiaries’ ability to increase their registered capital or distribute profits to us, or may otherwise adversely affect us.

The SAFE promulgated the Circular on Relevant Issues Relating to Domestic Resident’s Investment and Financing and Roundtrip Investment through Special Purpose Vehicles, or SAFE Circular 37, in July 2014 that requires PRC residents or entities to register with SAFE or its local branch in connection with their establishment or control of an offshore entity established for the purpose of overseas investment or financing with such PRC residents or entities’ legally owned assets or equity interests in domestic enterprises or offshore assets or interests. In addition, such PRC residents or entities must update their SAFE registrations when the offshore special purpose vehicle undergoes material events relating to any change of basic information (including change of such PRC citizens or residents, name and operation term), increases or decreases in investment amount, transfers or exchanges of shares, or mergers or divisions.

SAFE Circular 37 is issued to replace the Notice on Relevant Issues Concerning Foreign Exchange Administration for PRC Residents Engaging in Financing and Roundtrip Investments via Overseas Special Purpose Vehicles, or SAFE Circular 75.

If our shareholders who are PRC residents or entities do not complete their registration with the local SAFE branches, our PRC subsidiaries may be prohibited from distributing their profits and proceeds from any reduction in capital, share transfer or liquidation to us, and we may be restricted in our ability to contribute additional capital to our PRC subsidiaries. Moreover, failure to comply with the SAFE registration described above could result in liability under PRC laws for evasion of applicable foreign exchange restrictions.

We have notified all PRC residents or entities who directly or indirectly hold shares in our Cayman Islands holding company and who are known to us as being PRC residents to complete the foreign exchange registrations. However, we may not be informed of the identities of all the PRC residents or entities holding direct or indirect interest in our company, nor can we compel our beneficial owners to comply with SAFE registration requirements. As a result, we cannot assure you that all of our shareholders or beneficial owners who are PRC residents or entities have complied with, and will in the future make, obtain or update any applicable registrations or approvals required by, SAFE regulations. Failure by such shareholders or beneficial owners to comply with SAFE regulations, or failure by us to amend the foreign exchange registrations of our PRC subsidiaries, could subject us to fines or legal sanctions, restrict our overseas or cross-border investment activities, limit our PRC subsidiaries’ ability to make distributions or pay dividends to us or affect our ownership structure, which could adversely affect our business and prospects.

Any failure to comply with PRC regulations regarding the registration requirements for employee stock incentive plans may subject the PRC plan participants or us to fines and other legal or administrative sanctions.

Pursuant to SAFE Circular 37, PRC residents who participate in share incentive plans in overseas non-publicly-listed companies may submit applications to SAFE or its local branches for the foreign exchange registration with respect to offshore special purpose

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companies. In the meantime, our directors, executive officers and other employees who are PRC citizens or who are non-PRC residents residing in the PRC for a continuous period of not less than one year, subject to limited exceptions, and who have been granted share-based awards by us, may follow the Notices on Issues Concerning the Foreign Exchange Administration for Domestic Individuals Participating in Stock Incentive Plan of Overseas Publicly-Listed Company, promulgated by the SAFE in 2012. Pursuant to the 2012 SAFE notices, PRC citizens and non-PRC citizens who reside in China for a continuous period of not less than one year who participate in any stock incentive plan of an overseas publicly listed company, subject to a few exceptions, are required to register with SAFE through a domestic qualified agent, which could be the PRC subsidiaries of such overseas listed company, and complete certain other procedures. In addition, an overseas entrusted institution must be retained to handle matters in connection with the exercise or sale of stock options and the purchase or sale of shares and interests. We, our directors, our executive officers and other employees who are PRC citizens or who reside in the PRC for a continuous period of not less than one year and who have been granted share-based awards are subject to these regulations since we have become an overseas listed company. Failure to complete the SAFE registrations may subject them to fines, and legal sanctions and may also limit our ability to contribute additional capital into our PRC subsidiaries and limit our PRC subsidiaries’ ability to distribute dividends to us. We have completed filing with the relevant SAFE branch for our equity incentive plans and are required to update our filing periodically or in the event of any material changes. We also face regulatory uncertainties that could restrict our ability to adopt additional incentive plans for our directors, executive officers and employees under PRC law. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Government Regulations—Regulations on Employment and Social Welfare—Employee Stock Incentive Plan.”

The State Administration of Taxation, or SAT, has issued certain circulars concerning employee share options and restricted shares. Under these circulars, our employees working in China who exercise or transfer share options or are granted restricted shares will be subject to PRC individual income tax. Our PRC subsidiaries have obligations to file documents related to employee share options or restricted shares with relevant tax authorities and to withhold individual income taxes of those employees who exercise their share options. If our employees fail to pay or we fail to withhold their income taxes according to relevant laws and regulations, we may face sanctions imposed by the tax authorities or other PRC governmental authorities. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—Government Regulation— Regulations on Employment and Social Welfare—Employee Stock Incentive Plan.”

If we are classified as a PRC resident enterprise for PRC income tax purposes, such classification could result in unfavorable tax consequences to us and our non-PRC shareholders or ADS holders.

Under the PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law and its implementation rules, an enterprise established outside of the PRC with its “de facto management body” within the PRC is considered a “resident enterprise” and will be subject to PRC enterprise income tax on its global income at the rate of 25%. The implementation rules define the term “de facto management body” as the body that exercises full and substantial control and overall management over the business, productions, personnel, accounts and properties of an enterprise. In 2009, the SAT issued a circular, known as SAT Circular 82, which provides certain specific criteria for determining whether the “de facto management body” of a PRC-controlled enterprise that is incorporated offshore is located in China. Although this circular only applies to offshore enterprises controlled by PRC enterprises or PRC enterprise groups, not those controlled by PRC individuals or foreigners, the criteria set forth in the circular may reflect the SAT’s general position on how the “de facto management body” text should be applied in determining the tax resident status of all offshore enterprises. According to SAT Circular 82, an offshore incorporated enterprise controlled by a PRC enterprise or a PRC enterprise group will be regarded as a PRC tax resident by virtue of having its “de facto management body” in China and will be subject to PRC enterprise income tax on its global income only if all of the following conditions are met: (i) the primary location of the day-to-day operational management is in the PRC; (ii) decisions relating to the enterprise’s financial and human resource matters are made or are subject to approval by organizations or personnel in the PRC; (iii) the enterprise’s primary assets, accounting books and records, company seals, and board and shareholder resolutions, are located or maintained in the PRC; and (iv) at least 50% of voting board members or senior executives habitually reside in the PRC.

We believe none of our entities outside of China is a PRC resident enterprise for PRC tax purposes. However, the tax resident status of an enterprise is subject to determination by the PRC tax authorities and uncertainties remain with respect to the interpretation of the term “de facto management body.” If the PRC tax authorities determine that iQIYI, Inc. is a PRC resident enterprise for enterprise income tax purposes, we may be required to withhold a 10% withholding tax from interest or dividends we pay to our shareholders that are non-resident enterprises, including the holders of our ADSs. In addition, non-resident enterprise shareholders (including our ADS holders) may be subject to PRC tax at a rate of 10% on gains realized on the sale or other disposition of the ADSs or ordinary shares, if such income is treated as sourced from within the PRC. Furthermore, if PRC tax authorities determine that we are a PRC resident enterprise for enterprise income tax purposes, interest or dividends paid to our non-PRC individual shareholders (including our ADS holders) and any gain realized on the transfer of the ADSs or ordinary shares by such holders may be subject to PRC tax at a rate of 20% (which, in the case of interest or dividends, may be withheld at source by us), if such gains are deemed to be from PRC sources. These rates may be reduced by an applicable tax treaty, but it is unclear whether non-PRC shareholders of iQIYI, Inc. would be able to claim the benefits of any tax treaties between their country of tax residence and the PRC in the event that iQIYI, Inc. is treated as a PRC resident enterprise. Any such tax may reduce the returns on your investment in the ADSs.

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The audit report included in this annual report is prepared by an auditor who is not inspected by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and, as such, you are deprived of the benefits of such inspection.

Our independent registered public accounting firm that issues the audit reports included in our annual report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, as auditors of companies that are traded publicly in the United States and a firm registered with the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, or the PCAOB, is required by the laws of the United States to undergo regular inspections by the PCAOB to assess its compliance with the laws of the United States and professional standards. Because our auditors are located in the Peoples’ Republic of China, a jurisdiction where the PCAOB is currently unable to conduct inspections without the approval of the Chinese authorities, our auditors are not currently inspected by the PCAOB. On December 7, 2018, the SEC and the PCAOB issued a joint statement highlighting continued challenges faced by the U.S. regulators in their oversight of financial statement audits of U.S.-listed companies with significant operations in China.  The joint statement reflects a heightened interest in an issue that has vexed U.S. regulators in recent years.  However, it remains unclear what further actions the SEC and PCAOB will take to address the problem. 

Inspections of other firms that the PCAOB has conducted outside China have identified deficiencies in those firms’ audit procedures and quality control procedures, which may be addressed as part of the inspection process to improve future audit quality. This lack of PCAOB inspections in China prevents the PCAOB from regularly evaluating our auditor’s audits and its quality control procedures. As a result, investors may be deprived of the benefits of PCAOB inspections.

The inability of the PCAOB to conduct inspections of auditors in China makes it more difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of our auditor’s audit procedures or quality control procedures as compared to auditors outside of China that are subject to PCAOB inspections. Investors may lose confidence in our reported financial information and procedures and the quality of our financial statements.

Proceedings instituted by the SEC against five PRC-based accounting firms, including our independent registered public accounting firm, could result in financial statements being determined to not be in compliance with the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act.

Starting in 2011 the Chinese affiliates of the “big four” accounting firms, including our independent registered public accounting firm, were affected by a conflict between U.S. and Chinese law. Specifically, for certain U.S.-listed companies operating and audited in mainland China, the SEC and the PCAOB sought to obtain from the Chinese firms access to their audit work papers and related documents. The firms were, however, advised and directed that under Chinese law, they could not respond directly to the U.S. regulators on those requests, and that requests by foreign regulators for access to such papers in China had to be channeled through the CSRC.

In December 2012, the SEC instituted proceedings under Rule 102(e)(1)(iii) of its Rules of Practice and also under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 against five Chinese-based accounting firms, including our independent registered public accounting firm, alleging that these firms had violated U.S. securities laws and the SEC’s rules and regulations thereunder by failing to provide to the SEC the firms’ work papers related to their audits of certain China-based companies that are publicly traded in the U.S. Rule 102(e)(1)(iii) grants the SEC the authority to deny to any person, temporarily or permanently, the ability to practice before the SEC who is found by the SEC, after notice and opportunity for a hearing, to have willfully violated any such laws or rules and regulations. On January 22, 2014, an initial administrative law decision was issued, censuring these accounting firms and suspending four of the five firms from practicing before the SEC for a period of six months. Four of these China-based accounting firms appealed to the SEC against this decision and, on February 6, 2015, each of the four China-based accounting firms agreed to a censure and to pay a fine to the SEC to settle the dispute and avoid suspension of their ability to practice before the SEC. The firms’ ability to continue to serve all their respective customers is not affected by the settlement. The settlement requires the firms to follow detailed procedures to seek to provide the SEC with access to Chinese firms’ audit documents via the China Securities Regulatory Commission. If the firms do not follow these procedures, the SEC could impose penalties such as suspensions, or it could restart the administrative proceedings. The settlement did not require the firms to admit to any violation of law and preserves the firms’ legal defenses in the event the administrative proceeding is restarted.

In the event that the SEC restarts the administrative proceedings, depending upon the final outcome, listed companies in the United States with major PRC operations may find it difficult or impossible to retain auditors in respect of their operations in the PRC, which could result in financial statements being determined to not be in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act, including possible delisting. Moreover, any negative news about any such future proceedings against these audit firms may cause investor uncertainty regarding China-based, U.S.-listed companies and the market price of our ordinary shares may be adversely affected.

If our independent registered public accounting firm was denied, even temporarily, the ability to practice before the SEC and we were unable to timely find another registered public accounting firm to audit and issue an opinion on our financial statements, our financial statements could be determined not to be in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act. Such a determination

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could ultimately lead to the delisting of our ADSs from the Nasdaq or deregistration from the SEC, or both, which would substantially reduce or effectively terminate the trading of our ADSs in the United States.

Risks Related to Our ADSs

The trading price of our ADSs has been volatile and may continue to be volatile regardless of our operating performance.

The trading price of our ADSs has been volatile and has ranged from a low of US14.35 to a high of US46.23 since our ADSs started to trade on the Nasdaq Global Market on March 29, 2018. The market price for our ADSs may continue to be volatile and subject to wide fluctuations in response to factors including, but not limited to, the following:

 

actual or anticipated fluctuations in our quarterly results of operations;

 

changes in financial estimates by securities research analysts;

 

conditions in online entertainment markets;

 

announcements of new investments, acquisitions by us or our competitors, strategic partnerships, joint ventures or capital commitments;

 

addition or departure of key personnel;

 

fluctuations of exchange rates between RMB and the U.S. dollar;

 

litigation, government investigation or other legal or regulatory proceeding; and

 

general economic or political conditions in China or elsewhere in the world.

In addition, the stock market in general, and the market prices for internet-related companies and companies with operations in China in particular, have experienced volatility that often has been unrelated to the operating performance of such companies. The securities of some China-based companies that have listed their securities in the United States have experienced significant volatility since their initial public offerings in recent years, including, in some cases, substantial declines in the trading prices of their securities. The trading performances of these companies’ securities after their offerings may affect the attitudes of investors towards Chinese companies listed in the United States in general, which consequently may impact the trading performance of our ADSs, regardless of our actual operating performance. In addition, any negative news or perceptions about inadequate corporate governance practices or fraudulent accounting, corporate structure or other matters of other Chinese companies may also negatively affect the attitudes of investors towards Chinese companies in general, including us, regardless of whether we have engaged in any inappropriate activities. Furthermore, the stock market in general has experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of companies like us. These broad market and industry fluctuations may adversely affect the market price of our ADSs. Volatility or a lack of positive performance in our ADS price may also adversely affect our ability to retain key employees, most of whom have been granted options or other equity incentives.

In the past, shareholders of public companies have often brought securities class action suits against those companies following periods of instability in the market price of their securities. If we were involved in a class action suit, it could divert a significant amount of our management’s attention and other resources from our business and operations and require us to incur significant expenses to defend the suit, which could harm our results of operations. Any such class action suit, whether or not successful, could harm our reputation and restrict our ability to raise capital in the future. In addition, if a claim is successfully made against us, we may be required to pay significant damages, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or reports about our business, or if they adversely change their recommendations regarding our ADSs, the market price for our ADSs and trading volume could decline.

The trading market for our ADSs will be influenced by research or reports that industry or securities analysts publish about our business. If one or more analysts who cover us downgrade our ADSs, the market price for our ADSs would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts cease to cover us or fail to regularly publish reports on us, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which in turn could cause the market price or trading volume for our ADSs to decline.

Our dual-class voting structure limits your ability to influence corporate matters and could discourage others from pursuing any change of control transactions that holders of our Class A ordinary shares and ADSs may view as beneficial.

Our authorized and issued ordinary shares are divided into Class A ordinary shares and Class B ordinary shares. Holders of Class A ordinary shares are entitled to one vote per share, while holders of Class B ordinary shares are entitled to ten votes per share.

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Due to the disparate voting powers attached to these two classes of ordinary shares, Baidu, holder of our Class B ordinary shares, owns approximately 56.7% of our total issued and outstanding ordinary shares on an as-converted basis and 92.9% of the voting power of our outstanding shares as of February 28, 2019. Therefore, Baidu has decisive influence over matters requiring shareholders’ approval, including election of directors and significant corporate transactions, such as a merger or sale of our company or our assets. This concentrated control limits the ability of holders of Class A ordinary shares and ADSs to influence corporate matters and could discourage others from pursuing any potential merger, takeover or other change of control transactions that holders of Class A ordinary shares and ADSs may view as beneficial.

Because we do not expect to pay dividends in the foreseeable future, you must rely on price appreciation of our ADSs for return on your investment.

We currently intend to retain most, if not all, of our available funds and any future earnings to fund the development and growth of our business. As a result, we do not expect to pay any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. Therefore, you should not rely on an investment in our ADSs as a source for any future dividend income.

Our board of directors has complete discretion as to whether to distribute dividends. Even if our board of directors decides to declare and pay dividends, the timing, amount and form of future dividends, if any, will depend on our future results of operations and cash flow, our capital requirements and surplus, the amount of distributions, if any, received by us from our subsidiaries, our financial condition, contractual restrictions and other factors deemed relevant by our board of directors. Accordingly, the return to ADS holders will likely depend entirely upon any future price appreciation of our ADSs. There is no guarantee that our ADSs will appreciate in value or even maintain the price at which ADS holders purchased the ADSs.

Our memorandum and articles of association contain anti-takeover provisions that could have a material adverse effect on the rights of holders of our ordinary shares and ADSs.

Our memorandum and articles of association contain provisions to limit the ability of others to acquire control of our company or cause us to engage in change-of-control transactions. These provisions could have the effect of depriving our shareholders of an opportunity to sell their shares at a premium over prevailing market prices by discouraging third parties from seeking to obtain control of our company in a tender offer or similar transaction. Our board of directors has the authority, without further action by our shareholders, to issue preferred shares in one or more series and to fix their designations, powers, preferences, privileges, and relative participating, optional or special rights and the qualifications, limitations or restrictions, including dividend rights, conversion rights, voting rights, terms of redemption and liquidation preferences, any or all of which may be greater than the rights associated with our ordinary shares, in the form of ADS or otherwise. Preferred shares could be issued quickly with terms calculated to delay or prevent a change in control of our company or make removal of management more difficult. If our board of directors decides to issue preferred shares, the price of our ADSs may fall and the voting and other rights of the holders of our ordinary shares and ADSs may be materially and adversely affected.

Provisions of our convertible senior notes could discourage an acquisition of us by a third party.

In December 2018, we completed an offering of US$750 million in aggregate principal amount of convertible senior notes due 2023. Certain provisions of our convertible senior notes could make it more difficult or more expensive for a third party to acquire us. The indenture for our convertible senior notes define a "fundamental change" to include, among other things: (i) any person or group becoming a beneficial owner of our company through gaining more than 50% voting power of our ordinary share capital or more than 50% of our outstanding Class A ordinary shares; (ii) any recapitalization, reclassification or change of our Class A ordinary shares or ADSs as a result of which these securities would be converted into, or exchanged for, stock, other securities, other property or assets or any share exchange, consolidation or merger or similar transaction pursuant to which our Class A ordinary shares or ADSs will be converted into cash, securities or other property or any sale, lease or other transfer in one transaction or series of transaction of all or substantially all our consolidated assets, to any person other than one of our subsidiaries or consolidated affiliated entities; (iii) the adoption of any plan or proposal relating to the liquidation or dissolution of our company; (iv) our ADSs ceasing to be listed or quoted on any of The NASDAQ Global Select Market, The NASDAQ Global Market or The New York Stock Exchange (or any of their respective successors) and none of the ADSs, Class A ordinary shares, other common equity and ADSs in respect of reference property is listed or quoted on one of The NASDAQ Global Select Market, The NASDAQ Global Market or The New York Stock Exchange (or any of their respective successors) within one trading day of such cessation; or (v) any change in or amendment to the laws, regulations and rules in the PRC that prohibits us from operating substantially all of our business operations and prevents us from continuing to derive substantially all of the economic benefits from our business operations. Upon the occurrence of a fundamental change, holders of these notes will have the right, at their option, to require us to repurchase all of their notes or any portion of the principal amount of such notes in integral multiples of US$1,000. In the event of a fundamental change, we may also be required to issue additional ADSs upon conversion of our convertible notes.

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You may face difficulties in protecting your interests, and your ability to protect your rights through U.S. courts may be limited, because we are incorporated under Cayman Islands law.

We are an exempted company incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands. Our corporate affairs are governed by our memorandum and articles of association, the Companies Law (as amended) of the Cayman Islands and the common law of the Cayman Islands. The rights of shareholders to take action against the directors, actions by minority shareholders and the fiduciary duties of our directors to us under Cayman Islands law are to a large extent governed by the common law of the Cayman Islands. The common law of the Cayman Islands is derived in part from comparatively limited judicial precedent in the Cayman Islands as well as from the common law of England, the decisions of whose courts are of persuasive authority, but are not binding, on a court in the Cayman Islands. The rights of our shareholders and the fiduciary duties of our directors under Cayman Islands law are not as clearly established as they would be under statutes or judicial precedent in some jurisdictions in the United States. In particular, the Cayman Islands has a less developed body of securities laws than the United States. Some U.S. states, such as Delaware, have more fully developed and judicially interpreted bodies of corporate law than the Cayman Islands. In addition, Cayman Islands companies may not have standing to initiate a shareholder derivative action in a federal court of the United States.

Shareholders of Cayman Islands exempted companies like us have no general rights under Cayman Islands law to inspect corporate records or to obtain copies of lists of shareholders of these companies. Our directors have discretion under our articles of association to determine whether or not, and under what conditions, our corporate records may be inspected by our shareholders, but are not obliged to make them available to our shareholders. This may make it more difficult for you to obtain the information needed to establish any facts necessary for a shareholder motion or to solicit proxies from other shareholders in connection with a proxy contest.

Certain corporate governance practices in the Cayman Islands, which is our home country, differ significantly from requirements for companies incorporated in other jurisdictions such as the United States. We will rely on the exemption available to foreign private issuers for the requirement under Nasdaq Rule 5605(c)(2)(A)(i) that each member of the audit committee must be an independent director as defined under Nasdaq Rule 5605(a)(2). Mr. Herman Yu, who is a member of our audit committee and who is a non-voting member of our audit committee, is not an independent director as defined under Nasdaq Rule 5605(a)(2). If we continue to rely on this and other exemptions available to foreign private issuers in the future, our shareholders may be afforded less protection than they otherwise would under the Nasdaq corporate governance listing standards applicable to U.S. domestic issuers.

As a result of all of the above, our public shareholders may have more difficulty in protecting their interests in the face of actions taken by management, members of the board of directors or controlling shareholders than they would as public shareholders of a company incorporated in the United States.

Certain judgments obtained against us by our shareholders may not be enforceable.

We are a Cayman Islands company and substantially all of our assets are located outside of the United States. Substantially all of our current operations are conducted in China. In addition, most of our current directors and officers are nationals and residents of countries other than the United States. As a result, it may be difficult or impossible for you to bring an action against us or against these individuals in the United States in the event that you believe that your rights have been infringed under the U.S. federal securities laws or otherwise. Even if you are successful in bringing an action of this kind, the laws of the Cayman Islands and of China may render you unable to enforce a judgment against our assets or the assets of our directors and officers.

The voting rights of holders of ADSs are limited by the terms of the deposit agreement, and you may not be able to exercise your right to vote your Class A ordinary shares.

Holders of our ADSs will only be able to exercise the voting rights with respect to the underlying Class A ordinary shares in accordance with the provisions of the deposit agreement. Under the deposit agreement, ADS holders must vote by giving voting instructions to the depositary. If we ask for instructions of ADS holders, then upon receipt of such voting instructions, the depositary will try to vote the underlying Class A ordinary shares in accordance with these instructions. If we do not instruct the depositary to ask for instructions of ADS holders, the depositary may still vote in accordance with instructions given by holders of ADSs, but it is not required to do so. ADS holders will not be able to directly exercise your right to vote with respect to the underlying shares unless you withdraw the shares. When a general meeting is convened, an ADS holder may not receive sufficient advance notice to withdraw the shares underlying his or her ADSs to allow such holder to vote with respect to any specific matter. If we ask for instructions of holders of ADSs, the depositary will notify ADS holders of the upcoming vote and will arrange to deliver our voting materials to ADS holders. We have agreed to give the depositary at least 30 days’ prior notice of shareholder meetings. Nevertheless, we cannot assure you that ADS holders will receive the voting materials in time to ensure that ADS holders can instruct the depositary to vote their shares. In addition, the depositary and its agents are not responsible for failing to carry out voting instructions or for their manner of carrying out ADS holders’ voting instructions. This means that an ADS holder may not be able to exercise the right to vote and may have no legal remedy if the shares underlying his or her ADSs are not voted as such holder requested.

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ADS holders may experience dilution of his or her holdings due to inability to participate in rights offerings.

We may, from time to time, distribute rights to our shareholders, including rights to acquire securities. Under the deposit agreement, the depositary will not distribute rights to holders of ADSs unless the distribution and sale of rights and the securities to which these rights relate are either exempt from registration under the Securities Act with respect to all holders of ADSs, or are registered under the provisions of the Securities Act. The depositary may, but is not required to, attempt to sell these undistributed rights to third parties, and may allow the rights to lapse. We may be unable to establish an exemption from registration under the Securities Act, and we are under no obligation to file a registration statement with respect to these rights or underlying securities or to endeavor to have a registration statement declared effective. Accordingly, holders of ADSs may be unable to participate in our rights offerings and may experience dilution of their holdings as a result.

ADS holders may be subject to limitations on transfer of their ADSs

Our ADSs are transferable on the books of the depositary. However, the depositary may close its books at any time or from time to time when it deems expedient in connection with the performance of its duties. The depositary may close its books from time to time for a number of reasons, including in connection with corporate events such as a rights offering, during which time the depositary needs to maintain an exact number of ADS holders on its books for a specified period. The depositary may also close its books in emergencies, and on weekends and public holidays. The depositary may refuse to deliver, transfer or register transfers of our ADSs generally when our share register or the books of the depositary are closed, or at any time if we or the depositary thinks it is advisable to do so because of any requirement of law or of any government or governmental body, or under any provision of the deposit agreement, or for any other reason.

We are a foreign private issuer within the meaning of the rules under the Exchange Act, and as such we are exempt from certain provisions applicable to United States domestic public companies.

Because we are a foreign private issuer under the Exchange Act, we are exempt from certain provisions of the securities rules and regulations in the United States that are applicable to U.S. domestic issuers, including: (i) the rules under the Exchange Act requiring the filing of quarterly reports on Form 10-Q or current reports on Form 8-K with the SEC; (ii) the sections of the Exchange Act regulating the solicitation of proxies, consents, or authorizations in respect of a security registered under the Exchange Act; (iii) the sections of the Exchange Act requiring insiders to file public reports of their stock ownership and trading activities and liability for insiders who profit from trades made in a short period of time; and (iv) the selective disclosure rules by issuers of material nonpublic information under Regulation FD.

We are required to file an annual report on Form 20-F within four months of the end of each fiscal year. In addition, we publish our results on a quarterly basis through press releases, distributed pursuant to the rules and regulations of Nasdaq Global Market. Press releases relating to financial results and material events will also be furnished to the SEC on Form 6-K. However, the information we are required to file with or furnish to the SEC will be less extensive and less timely compared to that required to be filed with the SEC by U.S. domestic issuers. As a result, you may not be afforded the same protections or information, which would be made available to you, were you investing in a U.S. domestic issuer.

In addition, as a foreign private issuer whose securities are listed on the Nasdaq Global Market, we are permitted to follow certain home country corporate governance practices in lieu of the requirements of the Nasdaq Rules pursuant to Nasdaq Rule 5615(a)(3), which provides for such exemption to compliance with the Nasdaq Rule 5600 Series. We will rely on the exemption available to foreign private issuers for the requirement under Nasdaq Rule 5605(c)(2)(A)(i) that each member of the audit committee must be an independent director as defined under Nasdaq Rule 5605(a)(2). Mr. Herman Yu, who is a member of our audit committee and is a non-voting member of our audit committee, is not an independent director as defined under Nasdaq Rule 5605(a)(2). If we continue to rely on this and other exemptions available to foreign private issuers in the future, our shareholders may be afforded less protection than they otherwise would under the Nasdaq corporate governance listing standards applicable to U.S. domestic issuers. Furthermore, as a result of our use of the “controlled company” exemptions, our investors will not have the same protection afforded to shareholders of companies that are subject to all of Nasdaq’s corporate governance requirements.

We may be a passive foreign investment company, or PFIC, which could result in adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences for U.S. shareholders.

Generally, a non-U.S. corporation, such as our company, will be considered a PFIC for any taxable year if either (i) at least 75% of its gross income is passive income or (ii) at least 50% of the value of its assets (based on an average of the quarterly values of the assets during a taxable year) is attributable to assets that produce or are held for the production of passive income. The value of our assets may be determined by reference to the market price of the ADSs and Class A ordinary shares, which may fluctuate considerably. In addition, because there are uncertainties in the application of the relevant rules and because PFIC status is a fact-intensive determination made on an annual basis, no assurance can be given with respect to our PFIC status for the current or any future taxable year.

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Based on the market price of our ADSs, the value of our assets and the composition of our assets and income, we believe that we were not a PFIC for our taxable year ended December 31, 2018. We do not presently expect to be a PFIC for the current taxable year or the foreseeable future. However, given the lack of authority and the highly factual nature of the analyses, no assurance can be given in this regard. Fluctuations in the market price of our ADSs may cause us to become a PFIC for the current or subsequent taxable years because the value of our assets for the purpose of the asset test may be determined by reference to the market price of our ADSs. The composition of our income and assets may also be affected by how, and how quickly, we use our liquid assets. In addition, because there are uncertainties in the application of the relevant rules, it is possible that the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, may challenge our classification of certain income and assets as non-passive or our valuation of our tangible and intangible assets, each of which may result in our becoming a PFIC for the current or subsequent taxable years. Furthermore, we may also be a PFIC if we were not treated as the owner of our consolidated affiliated entities for U.S. tax purposes.

If we were treated as a PFIC for any taxable year during which a U.S. shareholder held an ADS or Class A ordinary share, certain adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences could apply to the U.S. shareholder. See “Item 10. Additional Information—Taxation—U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations—Passive Foreign Investment Company Considerations.”

ITEM 4.

INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

A.

History and Development of the Company

We launched qiyi.com under the QIYI brand in April 2010 as an internet video streaming service in China. Our holding company, Ding Xin, Inc., was incorporated in November 2009 in the Cayman Islands. Ding Xin, Inc. was subsequently renamed Qiyi.com, Inc. in August 2010 and later iQIYI, Inc. in November 2017. QIYI was rebranded as iQIYI in November 2011.

In March 2010, we established a wholly-owned PRC subsidiary, Beijing QIYI Century Science & Technology Co., Ltd., or Beijing QIYI Century. In November 2011, we obtained control over Beijing Xinlian Xinde Advertisement Media Co., Ltd. and in May 2012 we renamed it Beijing iQIYI Science & Technology Co., Ltd., or Beijing iQIYI, to operate our internet video streaming services. In December 2012, Shanghai iQIYI Culture Media Co., Ltd., or Shanghai iQIYI, was established as our exclusive advertising agent. In May 2013, we acquired the online video business of PPS. We primarily provide live broadcasting service through Shanghai Zhong Yuan Network Co., Ltd., or Shanghai Zhong Yuan, the operating entity of PPS. We have control over and are the primary beneficiary of Beijing iQIYI, Shanghai iQIYI and Shanghai Zhong Yuan through a series of contractual arrangements. Beijing iQIYI and Shanghai Zhong Yuan hold our ICP licenses and other licenses and permits necessary for our business operation.

In May 2017, we established a wholly-owned Cayman Islands subsidiary, IQIYI Film Group Limited. Subsequently, we established IQIYI Film Group HK Limited in June 2017, and Beijing iQIYI New Media Science and Technology Co., Ltd., or iQIYI New Media, in July 2017. IQIYI Film Group Limited holds 100% of the equity of IQIYI Film Group HK Limited, which in turn holds 100% of equity in iQIYI New Media. iQIYI Pictures (Beijing) Co., Ltd., or iQIYI Pictures, was established in December 2014, and Beijing iQIYI Cinema Management Co., Ltd., or Beijing iQIYI Cinema, was established in June 2017. We have control and are the primary beneficiary of iQIYI Pictures and Beijing iQIYI Cinema through a series of contractual arrangements.

Between March 2010 and September 2014, Baidu made substantial investments in our company, and we issued ordinary shares and several series of preferred shares to Baidu Holdings. In our Series F preferred shares financing, which took place in November 2014, we issued 136,749,954 Series F preferred shares to Baidu Holdings, 341,874,885 Series F preferred shares to Xiaomi Ventures Limited and 68,374,978 Series F preferred shares to Prominent TMT Limited, an affiliate of Xiaomi Ventures Limited. In January 2017, we raised US$1.53 billion from the issuance of convertible notes to a group of investors. These notes were converted into Series G preferred shares in October 2017, including 215,484,776 Series G-1 preferred shares issued to Baidu Holdings and another investor, as well as 798,951,243 Series G-2 preferred shares issued to other investors. All preferred shares were converted into ordinary shares upon the completion of our initial public offering. In addition, in April 2018, we issued to Baidu Holdings an aggregate of 36,860,691 Class B ordinary shares, pursuant to a share purchase agreement we entered into with Baidu Holdings in February 2018.

On March 29, 2018, our ADS commenced trading on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “IQ.” On April 3, 2018, at the closing of our initial public offering, we issued and sold a total of 875,000,000 Class A ordinary shares, represented by ADSs at a public offering price of US$18.00 per ADS. On April 30, 2018, we issued and sold an additional 67,525,675 Class A ordinary shares, represented by ADSs at US$18.00 per ADS, at the closing of the over-allotment option exercised by the underwriters of our initial public offering.

On July 17, 2018, we completed the acquisition of 100% equity stake in Skymoons Inc. and Chengdu Skymoons Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd., or Chengdu Skymoons (together with Skymoons Inc., “Skymoons”). The aggregate consideration consists of a fixed payment of RMB1.27 billion, as well as additional consideration valued at RMB730 million as of June 30, 2018 to be delivered in the event the acquiree satisfies the agreed upon performance benchmarks in the next two years.

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In December 2018, we completed an offering of US$750 million in aggregate principal amount of convertible senior notes due 2023, or the 2023 Notes. The 2023 Notes have been offered in the United States to qualified institutional buyers pursuant to Rule 144A and to non-U.S. persons outside the United States in reliance on Regulation S under the Securities Act. The initial conversion rate of the 2023 Notes is 37.1830 ADSs per US$1,000 principal amount of Notes (which is equivalent to an initial conversion price of approximately US$26.89 per ADS and represents a conversion premium of approximately 40% above the NASDAQ closing price of the ADSs on November 29, 2018, which was US$19.21 per ADS). The conversion rate for the 2023 Notes is subject to adjustment upon the occurrence of certain events. The 2023 Notes will bear interest at a rate of 3.75% per year, payable semi-annually in arrears on June 1 and December 1 of each year, beginning on June 1, 2019. The 2023 Notes will mature on December 1, 2023, unless previously repurchased, redeemed or converted in accordance with their terms prior to such date. The holders may require us to repurchase all or portion of the Notes for cash on December 1, 2021, or upon a fundamental change, at a repurchase price equal to 100% of the principal amount, plus accrued and unpaid interest. In connection with the offering the 2023 Notes, we have entered into capped call transactions with certain counterparties, where we purchased capped call options at the price of US$67.5 million. The cap price of the capped call transactions is initially US$38.42 per ADS and is subject to adjustment under the terms of the capped call transactions.

Our principal executive offices are located at 9/F, iQIYI Innovation Building, No. 2 Haidian North First Street, Haidian District, Beijing, 100080 People’s Republic of China. Our telephone number at this address is +86 10 6267-7171. Our registered office in the Cayman Islands is located at the offices of Intertrust Corporate Services (Cayman) Limited, 190 Elgin Avenue, George Town, Grand Cayman KY1-9005, Cayman Islands. Our agent for service of process in the United States is Law Debenture Corporate Services Inc., located at 801 2nd Avenue, Suite 403, New York, New York 10017.

B.

Business Overview

iQIYI is an innovative market-leading online entertainment service in China.

We are a leading internet video streaming service in China. Our platform features original content, as well as a comprehensive selection of professionally-produced, partner-generated and user-generated content. Through our curated premium content, we attract a massive user base with tremendous user engagement, and generate significant monetization opportunities. For the year of 2018, our average mobile MAUs were 454.5 million and our average mobile DAUs were 135.4 million. On average, our users spent 9.4 billion hours per month watching video content on our platform through all devices, and spent 1.6 hours per day per user watching video content on our mobile apps during the year. We have also built a leading entertainment-based social media platform, iQIYI Paopao, for fans to follow and interact with celebrities and the entertainment community.

We pride ourselves in establishing a track record of producing blockbuster original content. The Lost Tomb (盗墓笔记), released in 2015, was one of the first high-budget original internet drama series in China. Since 2015, we have released several award-winning multi-genre original titles, such as The Mystic Nine (老九门), Burning Ice (无证之罪), and Story of Yanxi Palace (延禧攻略). We also pioneered and produced a number of internet variety shows that are highly popular, such as The Rap of China, Idol Producer, Hot-Blood Dance Crew (热血街舞团) and Qipa Talk (奇葩说), the last of which we released in 2014 and currently is in its fifth season. Leveraging on our initial success, we have extended selected popular titles into multi-season format.

Equipped with our deep-learning predictive algorithms and massive user data, we have developed industry-leading tools to select third-party content. We have also built a comprehensive content library catering to the diverse tastes of our users, and cultivated emerging content providers. Our growing network of iQIYI partner accounts provides us with high-quality partner-generated and user-generated content. This network also enables thousands of content providers to distribute content effectively and monetize their followings through revenue sharing arrangements with us.

We distinguish ourselves in the online entertainment industry by our leading technology platform powered by advanced AI, big data analytics and other core proprietary technologies. Our core proprietary technologies are critical to producing and procuring content that caters to user tastes, delivering superior entertainment experience to our users, improving operational efficiency, and increasing return on investment for our advertisers and monetization opportunities for content providers.

We have developed a diversified monetization model to capture multiple opportunities arising from the rapid growth of the online entertainment industry in China. We generate revenues through membership services, online advertising services and a suite of IP-related monetization methods, including content distribution. We pioneered a large scale paid content subscription business in China. We appeal to advertisers through broad and efficient user reach, as well as innovative and effective advertising products. We have proven capabilities of adapting a single popular work into a variety of entertainment products, creating multiple channels to amplify the popularity and monetary value of the original work. Our sophisticated monetization model fosters an environment for high-quality content production and distribution on our platform, which in turn expands our user base and increases user engagement, creating a virtuous cycle.

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We enjoy significant synergies with our parent company Baidu. Baidu has provided us with technology and infrastructure support. Our close cooperation in AI technology, user traffic and infrastructure sharing allows us to strengthen our respective leading market positions.

Our Services

We provide our users with a variety of services encompassing internet video, live broadcasting, online games, online literature, animations, e-commerce and social media platform.

Video

We are dedicated to producing premium original video content and distributing appealing professionally-produced content, or PPC, partner-generated content, or PGC and user-generated content, or UGC.

PPC

iQIYI original content

Our original content includes both content produced in-house and content produced in collaboration with quality third-party partners. We produce certain original content titles in-house, such as the popular variety show The Rap of China, Idol Producer and Hot-Blood Dance Crew (热血街舞团). These programs are produced by iQIYI from IP incubation to distribution. Other original content titles are produced in collaboration with partners, such as popular internet drama series, The Lost Tomb (盗墓笔记), The Mystic Nine (老九门), Tientsin Mystic (河神), Story of Yanxi Palace (延禧攻略) and Golden Eyes (黄金瞳). iQIYI obtains the IP through production, adaptation or purchase from third parties, while the partners, typically established entertainment production companies, are responsible for content development and production. iQIYI maintains a high degree of control during the content development and production process.

We also adapt high-quality IP into multiple entertainment products, such as online games, animations, online literature, and derivative merchandise.

Licensed content

In addition to original content, we also provide users with a curated selection of high-quality PPC from third parties. Leveraging our expertise in content selection, we have successfully debuted well-received titles such as iPartment (爱情公寓), In the Name of People (人民的名义), The Story Of MingLan (知否知否应是绿肥红瘦), the Descendants of the Sun (太阳的后裔) and My Love from the Star (来自星星的你) in China.

We license video content typically at fixed rates for a specified term. The average term of licenses varies depending on the type of content, with films and drama series having an average term of six years and seven years, respectively. Payments of licensing fees are generally made in installments upon signing of the contacts and during the license period. We also exchange rights to distribute licensed content with other internet video streaming services to enrich our content library. In certain cases, we have the right of first refusal to purchase new content produced by the licensor.

We leverage our content procurement team’s insights and our big data analytics capabilities, such as iQIYI Brain, to optimize content procurement. We have established strong partnerships with content providers to ensure access to high-quality content.

PGC and UGC

We collaborate with a large number of selected partners to supplement our video content portfolio with PGC, and incentivize them to submit high-quality content through our revenue-sharing mechanism. PGC expands our video collection to cover long-tail content in order for us to capture a broader user base. Furthermore, PGC promotes our brand, drives user engagement and enhances user stickiness. Our platform also allows registered users to easily upload, watch and share video content generated by themselves. Such UGC content are mostly short-form videos.

PGC and UGC providers can upload their videos onto their iQIYI partner accounts, a platform where content providers offer video, comics, literature, graphic and textual content. Our operations team then evaluates the quality of uploaded videos before final approval. Users can subscribe for and follow their favorite iQIYI partner accounts.

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iQIYI partner accounts enjoy a wide array of functions on our platform, such as uploading 4K videos and enhanced user exposure through automated recommendation system. To assist our iQIYI partner accounts’ monetization efforts, we share with them marketing data, offer advertisement customization tools, and provide an expedient payment system.

Our Membership Services

Our membership services generally provide subscribing members with superior entertainment experience that is embodied in various membership privileges. Subscribing members have early access or binge-watch option to certain drama series aired exclusively on iQIYI platform. Subscribing members also have access to a large collection of VIP-only content comprised of drama series, movies, animations, and cartoons, etc. Membership privileges generally include substantially ad-free streaming, 1080P/4K high-definition video, enhanced audio experience, accelerated downloads and others. Subscribing member privileges also include coupons and discounts on paid on-demand films, as well as special privilege in offline events, such as exclusive access to live concerts.

We primarily offer one membership package that generally grants members access through various mobile and other hardware devices. We also entered into strategic partnerships with other leading internet and telecommunications companies to offer joint memberships. Our members primarily include subscribing members and, to a lesser extent, users who gain access to our premium content library through paid video on-demand service.

Other Services

iQIYI Show

iQIYI Show is our live broadcasting service. iQIYI Show enables users to follow their favorite hosts, celebrities and shows in real time through live broadcasting. We also edit selected live broadcasting content into short-form videos to help hosts grow their fan bases. iQIYI Show has strong interactive features to enhance user interaction and engagement.

Online Games, Literature and Comics

We distribute online games featured in various formats, including webpage games, mobile games, and H5 games. In addition to third-party games, we have also launched a number of popular online games adapted from same-name IP content, such as literature, drama series and films. We collaborate closely with IP providers and game development and distribution partners for game distribution and operation. With the acquisition of Skymoons, we plan to further broaden our offering of online games with in-house developed ones to fully leverage the IP value in our content.

Online literature and comics plays a critical role in premium IP incubation as its user base highly overlaps with that of our video content, thereby allowing us to monitor the trend of user tastes and identify the most appropriate IP for adaptation. High-quality original online literature and comics works are adapted into script for derivative entertainment products. At the same time, certain high-quality video content is also developed into online literature and comics to further drive user stickiness on our platform.

iQIYI Mall

iQIYI Mall is an e-commerce platform with a focus on entertainment-related merchandise, such as VR glasses. iQIYI Mall also sells other consumer products, such as electronics, apparel and accessories, beauty and skin care products.

iQIYI Paopao Social Media Platform

iQIYI Paopao is iQIYI’s entertainment-based social media platform. It connects fans with celebrities and content of their interests on a platform where fans can quickly and conveniently disseminate information in various formats. By strengthening the connection among fans, celebrities and content, the platform enhances user engagement and stickiness, and turns iQIYI Paopao into a social media platform for fans.

iQIYI Paopao features a wide range of social functions. Within each topic of interest, fans can generate content by posting texts, images and videos, as well as interact with others through features such as commenting, giving likes and private messaging. By virtue of its social media nature, iQIYI Paopao serves as the base for online and offline fans activities. Moreover, we frequently organize celebrities to interact with fans on iQIYI Paopao in real-time, to attract and retain users. iQIYI Paopao also serves as a key publicity platform for our video content.

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Users on average launch the iQIYI app much more frequently and stay on for longer, after they start to use iQIYI Paopao. Through iQIYI Paopao, we can proactively launch marketing for upcoming shows and generate strong momentum to contribute to early success. We also obtain a large amount of user feedback data to empower enhanced user behavior analysis, better content procurement and personalized content recommendation.

User Experience

We offer entertainment content across our user-friendly and feature-rich interfaces on our website, mobile app, PC client terminal, WAP, smart TV and VR device.

Our home page is a one-stop portal for users to access both trending and recommended content. Leveraging our big data analytics, we analyze user browsing behavior to understand their tastes and preference, and dynamically update the content shown on the home page to offer users with the most desirable content.

Our interface offers comprehensive viewing functions designed to enhance user experience. We provide various picture resolution and play options. Other key functions include screenshots, VR viewing, screen mirroring and video caching.

We also offer various social elements in our video streaming interface. Users can comment on the video content, interact with other fans through iQIYI Paopao, and share video content through other popular internet social networks.

Monetization

We generate revenues primarily through membership services, online advertising and content distribution. We also generate revenues from IP-related monetization methods, including live broadcasting, online games, IP licensing, online literature, e-commerce and talent agency business.

Membership Services

See “Our Membership Services.”

Online Advertising

The prices of our advertising services depend upon various factors, including form and size of the advertising, level of sponsorship, popularity of the content or event in which the advertisements will be placed, and specific targeting requirements. Prices for the brand advertising service purchased by each advertiser or advertising agency are fixed under our sales contracts. Our in-feed advertising services are competitively priced through an online bidding process.

In addition to traditional pre-video and pop-up advertisements, we also launched various innovative advertising products and solutions. For example, video-out advertisement appears on the screen when the video is showing content related to the advertised product; soft product placement incorporates the advertised product into the production of our premium original content to facilitate a more natural advertisement viewing experience; and content-integrated advertisement integrate brands with content itself, such as theme songs with lyrics embedding brand names of advertisers.

Content Distribution

We monetize and enrich our content through content distribution. We sub-license procured third-party content within its authorized scope to other internet video streaming services. We also enter into barter agreements to exchange internet broadcasting rights of licensed content with other internet video streaming services. The barter agreement provides the licensee with the right to broadcast the licensed content, and the licensor retains the right to continue broadcasting and/or sub-licensing the exchanged content. We distribute our selected original content to regions outside of China and to TV stations in China.

Others

Live Broadcasting

We monetize live broadcasting through user purchase of virtual items on iQIYI Show, which can be used for tipping hosts. We share revenues with hosts and their agencies.

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Online Games

For our online games business operations, we primarily distribute third-party online games. With the acquisition of Skymoons, we plan to further broaden our offering of online games with in-house developed ones to fully leverage the IP value in our content. We monetize online games through users’ in-app purchases of gift packages and game privileges.

IP Licensing

We license our proprietary IP to third parties to develop derivative merchandise products, with a focus on long-term licensing. We also license our popular trademarks to third parties for use in their products. Our IP licensing business covers consumer products, joint marketing with other brands, online games licensing, as well as licensing of offline activities. We license both our own IPs and third-party IPs to which we have agency authorization. We collaborate with our partners generally through fixed-price licensing fees and/or revenue-sharing arrangements.

Online Literature

We monetize our online literature through paid reading on our platform, where readers can pay to gain access to our premium online literary titles.

E-commerce

We operate iQIYI Mall, an e-commerce platform where we offer products, such as VR glasses, to our users through direct sale and third-party merchants. Products offered at iQIYI Mall consist of peripheral products of films, drama series and variety shows, generating synergy with the video content on our platform. We charge third-party merchants commissions and service fees.

Talent Agency

We further monetize our self-produced variety shows through our talent agency business.

Sales and Marketing

Advertising Sales

For brand advertising, we sell our advertising services primarily through third-party advertising agencies, including members of American Association of Advertising Agencies, or 4As, and leading Chinese advertising agencies, and a portion of our brand advertising services directly to advertisers. We primarily sell our in-feed advertising service through third-party advertising agencies. We strategically leverage advertising agencies’ existing long-term relationships and network resources to increase our sales and expand our advertiser base. Depending on the type of advertiser and content, the duration of an advertising agreement is typically 12 months.

We have an experienced sales team consisting of salespeople with prior experience at Chinese internet companies, members of 4As and domestic advertising agencies. We divide our sales team by industry across the country to ensure the delivery of targeted advertising solutions. We provide regular training to our sales team to help them provide advertisers with comprehensive information about our services.

Brand Promotion

iQIYI’s brand values are youth, vitality and positivity. We believe that our high-quality video content and services lead to strong word-of-mouth referrals, which drives customer awareness of our brand in China. Our market position benefits significantly from our large and high-quality user base and our strong brand recognition.

Leveraging our in-depth understanding of user behavior, we employ a variety of online marketing programs and promotional activities to build our brand as part of our overall market strategy, including celebrity endorsement, hot topic dissemination through different media outlets, brand value embedment in blockbuster content, marketing alliance with Baidu, as well as resource exchange with major internet media platforms.

We host many offline activities to enhance our brand recognition. To increase members’ loyalty, we organize special events for members such as on-site visits during the show productions. We also host innovative offline marketing activities such as VR advertisement.

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We also execute marketing strategies aimed at young users to enhance user affinity. We use innovative technology to communicate with the younger generation, such as using AR to enable user interaction at bus stops. We use social media platforms to facilitate user engagement, such as allowing users to vote for contestants in variety shows. We attract young users by offering artist-fans interactions opportunities. We also collaborate with major wireless carriers to provide monthly unlimited data package for using iQIYI app on mobile devices.

Content promotion

We employ a variety of traditional and internet promotional activities to promote our content. We deploy outdoor brand advertisements, such as display ads in subway stations. Our promotional efforts are also focused on brand advertisements placed on internet TV platforms and social media campaigns. Furthermore, we also organize offline promotional events attended by popular celebrities to raise the awareness of our content offerings.

Intellectual Property and Copyright Protection

We highly value our intellectual property rights, which are fundamental to our success and competitiveness. We rely on a combination of patent, copyright, trademark and trade secret laws and restrictions to protect our intellectual property rights. As of December 31, 2018, we have applied for the registration of 5,384 patents, among which 332 patents of invention, 7 utility model patents and 1,979 patents of appearance have been registered with the State Administration for Market Regulation of the PRC. We have applied for 4,408 trademarks, among which 2,669 have been registered with the Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry & Commerce of the PRC. We have also registered 289 software copyrights with the Copyright Protection Center of the PRC. Our “  ” and “  ” trademarks have been recognized as well-known trademarks by the State Administration for Market Regulation of the PRC.

We employ a three-phase copyright protection scheme consisting of copyright management, network monitoring, and complaint or legal action. Our proprietary copyright management system registers all procured copyrights and ensures that licensed content on our platform do not exceed its scope and term of the licensing agreement. We developed a proprietary system to detect unauthorized use of iQIYI content on other internet platforms. We also establish various other channels for copyright protection. After a user registers and before each upload, we require the user to confirm that the content to be uploaded is in compliance with the terms and conditions set forth in the user agreement, to guarantee that he or she is the copyright owner or has obtained all necessary consents and authorizations for such content. We set technical barriers to deter illegal video content extractions. We encourage our users to report pirated content, and our copyright protection team promptly removes any suspected infringing content once we receive proper notification from the legitimate copyright owner. As a major market player in the video industry, we also attach great value to industrial response and feedback. We actively liaise with other major internet video streaming services to form industry union and collectively protect copyright.

Content Monitoring

We implement strict monitoring procedures to remove inappropriate or illegal content, including video, online literature, animations, iQIYI Show, comment postings, and content from other services. Text, images and videos are screened by our content monitoring team, which reviews our content on a 24/7 basis. Illegal and inappropriate content can generally be identified and removed promptly after it has been uploaded.

Our content monitoring team employs systematic monitoring procedures that include machine screening and manual review based on the latest laws and regulations. Our proprietary machine identification system automatically screens text, picture and video content. The text identification system screens text content based on pre-set key words and anti-spam system; the picture identification system screens picture content based on optical character recognition and pornographic-content detection; and the video identification system screens video content based on similarity analysis against our video database to analyze each frame and each second of video content. The machine screening process may have three possible outcomes: blocking content identified as illegal or inappropriate, releasing content that passes the screening, or flagging for manual review when the system cannot make a judgment. The content monitoring team manually reviews flagged content to make judgment on whether to block or to release, and the machine identification system conducts auto-learning based on the judgment from manual review. The content monitoring team also conducts random screening on content that has passed the machine screening process. We regularly communicate with relevant government authorities to stay abreast of relevant laws and regulations to ensure compliance. We provide periodic and comprehensive training to our monitoring team to ensure and enhance their understanding of regulatory requirements.

We conduct thorough background checks on our content providers. We request entities to provide us with copies of registration information and organization code certificate, and individuals to provide us with copies of official governmental ID. We request individuals to provide a mobile phone number, which is registered with one’s ID. We monitor all live content broadcast on our

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platform in real time using both machine screening and manual review. Despite our content monitoring efforts, we may still be subject to risks arising from contents on our platform. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business and Industry—Videos and other content displayed on our platform may be found objectionable by PRC regulatory authorities and may subject us to penalties and other administrative actions.”

Competition

We primarily compete with Tencent Video and Youku Tudou for both users and advertising customers. We also compete with other internet media and entertainment services, such as internet and social platforms that offer content in emerging and innovative media formats, as well as major TV stations. For a discussion of risks related to competition, see “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—We operate in a highly competitive market and we may not be able to compete effectively.”

Seasonality

Seasonal fluctuations have affected, and are likely to affect our business in the future. Historically, we have experienced lower online advertising services revenue in the first quarter of each year in connection with the Chinese New Year holiday as advertisers limit their budget for online platforms. For a discussion of risk related to seasonality and fluctuation of our operating results, see “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factor—Risks Related to Our Business and Industry—Our quarterly operating results may fluctuate, which makes our results of operations difficult to predict and may cause our quarterly results of operations to fall short of expectations.”

Insurance

As required by laws and regulations in China, we participate in various employee social benefits plans that are organized by municipal and provincial governments, including medical insurance, job-related injury insurance, maternity insurance and unemployment insurance. We do not have any business liability or disruption insurance coverage for our operations in China. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business—We have limited business insurance coverage.”

Legal Proceedings

We are currently not a party to any material legal or administrative proceedings. We have in the past and may from time to time be subject to various legal or administrative claims and proceedings regarding, among other things, copyright and trademark infringement, intellectual property dispute, contract disputes and unfair competition. Our products and services may contain materials, in which others may allege to own copyrights, trademarks or image rights or which others may claim to be defamatory or objectionable.

As of December 31, 2018, 60 cases against us were pending before various courts in China. The aggregate amount of damages sought under these pending cases is approximately RMB121.2 million (US$17.6 million). We are currently unable to estimate the reasonably possible loss or a range of reasonably possible loss as the proceedings are in the early stages, or there is a lack of clear or consistent interpretation of laws. As a result, there is considerable uncertainty regarding the timing or ultimate resolution of such proceedings, which includes eventual loss, fine, penalty or business impact, if any, and therefore, an estimate for the reasonably possible loss or a range of reasonably possible loss cannot be made. With respect to the limited number of proceedings for which we are able to estimate the reasonably possible loss or the range of reasonably possible loss, such estimates are immaterial.

In addition, as of December 31, 2018, 1,104 cases brought by us against others for copyright and trademark infringement, unfair competition and other commercial disputes were pending before various courts in China. The aggregate amount of damages we are seeking under these pending cases is approximately RMB1,055.7 million (US$153.5 million).

Government Regulations

PRC Regulations

This section sets forth a summary of the most significant rules and regulations that affect our business activities in China.

Regulations on Value-added Telecommunication Services

On September 25, 2000, the State Council promulgated the Telecommunications Regulations of the People’s Republic of China, or the Telecom Regulations, which was amended on July 29, 2014 and February 6, 2016. The Telecom Regulations is the primary PRC law governing telecommunication services and sets out the general regulatory framework for telecommunication services provided by PRC companies. The Telecom Regulations distinguishes between “basic telecommunication services” and “value-added telecommunication services.” The Telecom Regulations defines value-added telecommunications services as telecommunications and information services provided through public network infrastructures. Pursuant to the Telecom Regulations, commercial operators of value-added telecommunications services must first obtain an operating license from the MIIT, or its provincial level counterparts.

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The Catalog of Telecommunications Business, or the Catalog, which was issued as an attachment to the Telecom Regulations and updated in June 11, 2001, February 21, 2003 and December 28, 2015, further categorizes value-added telecommunication services into two classes: Class 1 value-added telecommunication services and Class 2 value-added telecommunication services. Information services provided via cable networks, mobile networks or internet fall within Class 2 value-added telecommunications services.

On July 3, 2017, the MIIT issued the Measures on the Administration of Telecommunications Business Operating Permits, or the Telecom License Measures, which became effective on September 1, 2017, to supplement the Telecom Regulations. The Telecom License Measures sets forth the types of licenses required to operate value-added telecommunications services and the qualifications and procedures for obtaining such licenses. The Telecom License Measures also provides that an operator providing value-added services in multiple provinces is required to obtain an inter-regional license, whereas an operator providing value-added services in one province is required to obtain an intra-provincial license. Any telecommunication services operator must conduct its business in accordance with the specifications in its license.

We engage in business activities that are value-added telecommunications services as defined in the Telecom Regulations and the Catalog. To comply with the relevant laws and regulations, Beijing iQIYI and Shanghai Zhong Yuan have each obtained the ICP License, which will remain effective until September 8, 2021 and May 11, 2021, respectively.

Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment in Value-Added Telecommunications Companies

Foreign direct investment in telecommunications companies in China is governed by the Provisions on the Administration of Foreign-Invested Telecommunications Enterprises, which was promulgated by the State Council on December 11, 2001 and amended on September 10, 2008 and February 6, 2016. These regulations require that foreign-invested value-added telecommunications enterprises in China must be established as Sino-foreign equity joint ventures and that the foreign investors may acquire up to 50% equity interests in such joint ventures. In addition, a major foreign investor in a value-added telecommunications business in China must demonstrate a good track record and experience in operating value-added telecommunications businesses. Moreover, foreign investors that meet these requirements must obtain approvals from the MIIT and the MOFCOM, to provide value-added telecommunication services in China and the MIIT and the MOFCOM retain considerable discretion in granting such approvals.

On July 13, 2006, the Ministry of Information Industry, or the MII, released the Notice on Strengthening the Administration of Foreign Investment in the Operation of Value-added Telecommunications Business, or the MII Notice, pursuant to which, for any foreign investor to invest in telecommunications businesses in China, a foreign-invested telecommunications enterprise must be established and such enterprise must apply for the relevant telecommunications business operation licenses. Furthermore, under the MII Notice, domestic telecommunications enterprises may not rent, transfer or sell a telecommunications business operation license to foreign investors in any form, and they may not provide any resources, premises, facilities and other assistance in any form to foreign investors for their illegal operation of any telecommunications business in China. In addition, under the MII Notice, the internet domain names and registered trademarks used by a value-added telecommunication service operator shall be legally owned by such operator or its shareholders.

Furthermore, the Guidance Catalog of Industries for Foreign Investment, or the Foreign Investment Catalog, the latest version of which was promulgated jointly by MOFCOM and the National Development and Reform Commission, or the NDRC, on June 28, 2017 and became effective on July 28, 2017, classifies businesses into three categories with regard to foreign investment: (i) “encouraged”, (ii) “restricted”, and (iii) “prohibited”. The latter two categories are included in the negative list, which was first introduced into the Foreign Investment Catalog in 2017, and listed, in a unified manner, the restrictive measures for the entry of foreign investment. On June 28, 2018, MOFCOM and NDRC jointly promulgated the Special Administrative Measures (Negative List 2018) for Foreign Investment Access, or the Special Administrative Measures, which replaced the negative list attached to the Foreign Investment Catalog in 2017. Industries that are not listed in the Foreign Investment Catalog or the Special Administrative Measures are permitted areas for foreign investments, and are generally open to foreign investment unless specifically restricted by other PRC regulations. Our business falls under value-added telecommunications services, which are listed under the Special Administrative Measures.

In view of these restrictions on foreign direct investment in value-added telecommunications services and certain other types of businesses under which our business may fall, including internet culture services, internet audio-video program services and radio/television programs production and operation business, we have established various domestic consolidated affiliated entities to engage in value-added telecommunications services. For a detailed discussion of our consolidated affiliated entities, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—C. Organizational Structure.” Due to the lack of interpretative guidance from the relevant PRC governmental authorities, there are uncertainties regarding whether PRC governmental authorities would consider our corporate structure and contractual arrangements to constitute foreign ownership of a value-added telecommunications business. See “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure—If the PRC government finds that the agreements that establish the structure for operating certain of our operations in China do not comply with PRC regulations relating to the relevant industries, or if these regulations or the interpretation of existing regulations change in the future, we could be subject to severe

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penalties or be forced to relinquish our interests in those operations.” In order to comply with PRC regulatory requirements, we operate a substantial portion of our business through our consolidated affiliated entities, which we have contractual relationships with but we do not have actual ownership interests in. If our current ownership structure is found to be in violation of current or future PRC laws, rules or regulations regarding the legality of foreign investment in value-added telecommunications services and other types of businesses on which foreign investment is restricted or prohibited, we could be subject to severe penalties.

Regulations on Internet Content Providers

The Administrative Measures on Internet Information Services, or the Internet Content Measures, which was promulgated by the State Council on September 25, 2000 and amended on January 8, 2011, set out guidelines on the provision of internet information services. The Internet Content Measures specifies that internet information services regarding news, publications, education, medical and health care, pharmacy and medical appliances, among other things, are required to be examined, approved and regulated by the relevant authorities. Internet information providers are prohibited from providing services beyond those included in the scope of their licenses or filings. Furthermore, the Internet Content Measures specifies a list of prohibited content. Internet information providers are prohibited from producing, copying, publishing or distributing information that is humiliating or defamatory to others or that infringes the legal rights of others. Internet information providers that violate such prohibition may face criminal charges or administrative sanctions. Internet information providers must monitor and control the information posted on their websites. If any prohibited content is found, they must remove the content immediately, keep a record of such content and report to the relevant authorities.

The Internet Content Measures classifies internet information services into commercial internet information services and non-commercial internet information services. Commercial internet information services refer to services that provide information or services to internet users with charge. A provider of commercial internet information services must obtain an ICP License. As a provider of commercial internet information services, Beijing iQIYI and Shanghai Zhong Yuan have each obtained an ICP License, which will remain effective until September 8, 2021 and May 11, 2021, respectively.

Regulations on Internet Audio-video Program Services

On December 20, 2007, the MII and the SARFT, jointly issued the Administrative Provisions for the Internet Audio-Video Program Service, or the Audio-video Program Provisions, which came into effect on January 31, 2008 and was amended on August 28, 2015. The Audio-video Program Provisions defines “internet audio-video program services” as producing, editing and integrating of audio-video programs, supplying audio-video programs to the public via the internet, and providing audio-video programs uploading and transmission services to a third party. Entities providing internet audio-video programs services must obtain an internet audio-video program transmission license. Applicants for such licenses shall be state-owned or state-controlled entities unless an internet audio-video program transmission license has been obtained prior to the effectiveness of the Audio-video Program Provisions in accordance with the then-in-effect laws and regulations. In addition, foreign-invested enterprises are not allowed to engage in the above-mentioned services. According to the Audio-video Program Provisions and other relevant laws and regulations, audio-video programs provided by the entities supplying Internet audio-video program services shall not contain any illegal content or other content prohibited by the laws and regulations, such as any content against the basic principles in the PRC Constitution, any content that damages the sovereignty of the country or national security, and any content that disturbs social order or undermine social stability. An audio-video program that has already been broadcast shall be retained in full for at least 60 days. Movies, television programs and other media content used as Internet audio-video programs shall comply with relevant administrative regulations on programs broadcasts through radio, movie and television channels. Entities providing services related to Internet audio-video programs shall immediately delete the audio-video programs violating laws and regulations, keep relevant records, report relevant authorities and implement other regulatory requirements.

The Categories of the Internet Audio-Video Program Services, or the Audio-video Program Categories, promulgated by SAPPRFT on March 10, 2017, classifies internet audio/video programs into four categories: (I) Category I internet audio/video program service, which is carried out with a form of radio station or television station; (II) Category II internet audio/video program service, including (a) re-broadcasting service of current political news audio/video programs; (b) hosting, interviewing, reporting and commenting service of arts, entertainment, technology, finance and economics, sports, education and other specialized audio/video programs; (c) producing (interviewing not included) and broadcasting service of arts, entertainment, technology, finance and economics, sports, education and other specialized audio/video programs; (d) producing and broadcasting service of internet films/dramas; (e) aggregating and broadcasting service of films, television dramas and cartoons; (f) aggregating and broadcasting service of arts, entertainment, technology, finance and economics, sports, education and other specialized audio/video programs; and (g) live audio/video broadcasting service of cultural activities of common social organizations, sport events or other organization activities; and (III) Category III internet audio/video program service, including (a) aggregating service of online audio/video contents, and (b) re-broadcasting service of the audio/video programs uploaded by internet users; and (IV) Category IV internet audio/video program service, including (a) re-broadcasting of the radio/television program channels; (b) re-broadcasting of internet audio/video program channels; and (c) re-broadcasting of live internet-based audio/video programs.

On May 27, 2016, the SAPPRFT issued the Notice on Relevant Issues concerning Implementing the Approval Works of Upgrading Mobile Internet Audio-Video Program Service, or the Mobile Audio-Video Program Notice. The Mobile Audio-Video

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Program Notice provides that the mobile Internet audio-video program services shall be deemed Internet audio-video program service. Entities which have obtained the approvals to provide the Internet audio-video program services may use mobile WAP websites or mobile applications to provide audio-video program services. Entities with regulatory approvals may operate mobile applications to provide the audio-video program services The types of the programs shall be within the permitted scope as provided in the licenses and such mobile applications shall be filed with the NRTA and/or SFB.

On November 4, 2016, the State Internet Information Office issued the Administrative Regulations on Online Live-broadcasting Services, or the Online Live-broadcasting Regulations, which came into effect on December 1, 2016. According to the Online Live-broadcasting Regulations, when providing internet news information services, both online live-broadcasting service providers and online live-broadcasting publishers must obtain the relevant licenses for providing internet news information service and may only carry out internet news information services within the scope of their licenses. All online live-broadcasting service providers (whether or not providing internet news information) must take certain actions to operate their services, including establishing platforms for monitoring live-broadcasting content.

On March 16, 2018, the SAPPRFT issued the Notice on Further Regulating the Transmission Orders of Internet Audio-video Programs, or the SAPPRFT Notice No. 21. According to the SAPPRFT Notice No. 21, online platforms shall not illegally capture, edit, or reprogram audio-video programs, shall strengthen the administration of audio-video programs, such as online movie clips and trailers, shall strengthen the management of the naming or sponsorship of the various programs, and the relevant authorities shall strengthen their administration and supervision over online audio-video platforms, as well as radio and television stations on content management. Among other, SAPPRFT Notice No. 21 requires that online audio-video platforms shall not produce or disseminate programs that distort, parody or vilify classic literary works; shall not re-edit, re-dub, or re-caption the subtitles of classic literary works, radio and television programs, network-based original audio-video programs or intercept certain program segments and splice them into new programs; and shall not disseminate edited pieces of works that distort the originals. Online platforms shall strictly supervise reprogramed videos uploaded by users and shall not facilitate the dissemination of defective audio-video programs. In addition, when receiving a complaint about defective programs from copyright owners, broadcasting agencies or producing agencies, online platforms shall immediately delete such programs.

On October 31, 2018, the State Administration of Radio and Television issued the Notice on Further Strengthening the Management of Radio and Television and Network Audiovisual Programs (“Notice 60”). According to Notice 60, all radio and television broadcasting institutes, network audiovisual program service institutes and program production institutes shall stick to the right political direction and strengthen value guidance; pursue people-centered creative orientation to curb bad tendencies such as pursuing celebrities, pan-entertainment and so on; persist in providing high-quality content, constantly innovate programs, and strictly control the remuneration of guests; and strengthen the governance of TV series, network series (including network movies) to promote the benign development of the industry; shall strengthen the use and management of ratings (click-through rate) survey data and resolutely crack down on ratings (click-through rate) forgeries, etc. Notice 60 further provides that as to main network audiovisual programs, the total remuneration of all guests in each program shall not exceed 40% of the total cost of the program, the total remuneration of main guests in each program shall not exceed 40% of the total remuneration of all guests, and information such as the names, salaries and cost proportion of the guests shall be reported to the State Administration of Radio and Television before going online. Meanwhile, the total remuneration of all actors of each TV series and network series (including network movies) shall not exceed 40% of the total cost of production, of which the total remuneration of main actors shall not exceed 70% of the total remuneration of all actors.

On December 27, 2018, the State Administration of Radio and Television issued the Notice on the Upgrading of the Network Audiovisual Program Information Recording System (“Notice 158”). According to the Notice 158, the State Administration of Radio and Television has added a new module called "Main Network Movies and Teleplays Information Recording System" ("Recording System") in "Network Play, Micro Film and other Network Audiovisual Program Information Recording System". Since February 15, 2019, before the production of main network movies and teleplays (including network plays, network movies and network animations), the producers shall provide relevant information, such as name, type, content outline, budget making, etc. Main network movies and teleplays shall include network series (network animations) with total investment of more than RMB5 million and network movies with an investment of more than RMB 1 million. After shooting and production of main network movies and teleplays, the producers shall provide relevant information, such as the expected broadcasting platform, amount of actual investment, actor's remuneration and so on in the Recording System, and submit the finished programs to the relevant radio and television administrative departments. Main network series, network movies and network animations with on-line filing numbers could be broadcasted and promoted on the home pages of various audio-visual program websites, or could be used for investment promotion, membership recommendation, online recommendation and program optimization of audio-visual program websites.

Beijing iQiyi has obtained an internet audio-video program transmission license which will remain effective until October 23, 2021, covering certain audio-video program services as provided in category II and Shanghai Zhong Yuan has obtained an internet

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audio-video program transmission license which will remain effective until March 23, 2020, covering certain audio-video program services as provided in category II, category III and category IV.

Regulations on Production and Operation of Radio/Television Programs

On July 19, 2004, the SARFT promulgated the Administrative Measures on the Production and Operation of Radio and Television Programs, or the Radio and Television Program Production Measures, which came into effect on August 20, 2004 and was amended on August 28, 2015. The Radio and Television Program Production Measures provides that any business that produces or operates radio or television programs must first obtain a Radio and Television Program Production and Operation Permit. Entities holding such permits shall conduct their business within the permitted scope as provided in their permits. In addition, foreign-invested enterprises are not allowed to engage in the above-mentioned services. Each of Beijing iQIYI, Shanghai Zhong Yuan and iQIYI Pictures has obtained a Radio and Television Program Production and Operation Permit for their respective businesses.

Regulations on Online Culture Administration

According to the Interim Administrative Provisions on Internet Culture, or the Internet Culture Provisions, promulgated by the Ministry of Culture, or the MOC, on February 17, 2011, and amended on December 15, 2017 internet culture activities include: (i) production, reproduction, import, release or broadcast of internet culture products (such as online music, online game, online performance and cultural products by certain technical means and copied to the internet for spreading); (ii) distribution or publication of cultural products on internet; and (iii) exhibitions, competitions and other similar activities concerning internet culture products. The Internet Culture Provisions further classifies internet cultural activities into commercial internet cultural activities and non-commercial internet cultural activities. Entities engaging in commercial internet cultural activities must apply to the relevant authorities for a Network Cultural Business Permit, while non-commercial cultural entities are only required to report to related culture administration authorities within 60 days of the establishment of such entity. If any entity engages in commercial internet culture activities without approval, the cultural administration authorities or other relevant government may order such entity to cease to operate Internet culture activities as well as levying penalties including administrative warning, fines up to RMB30,000 and listing such entity on the cultural market blacklist to impose credit penalty in case of continued non-compliance. In addition, foreign-invested enterprises are not allowed to engage in the above-mentioned services except online music. Each of Beijing iQIYI and Shanghai Zhong Yuan has obtained a