Qiyi was founded on April 22, 2010 by Baidu, which is China’s largest online search engine, and Providence Equity Partners, and changed its name to iQiyi in November 2011. On November 2, 2011, it purchased the online license for Transformers: Dark of the Moon in mainland China from Paramount. On November 2, 2012, Baidu bought Providence’s stake and took 100% ownership of the site. On May 7, 2013, Baidu purchased the online video business of PPStream Inc. for $370 million, which became a subsidiary of iQiyi. On July 17, 2014, the site launched its film production division, iQiyi Motion Pictures, to expand existing cooperative projects with overseas peers, including purchasing releases and co-producing movies. On September 4, iQiyi cooperated with Venice Film Festival, streaming of the festival’s movies online. On August 2014, iQiyi generated over 6.95 billion hours of viewing on its website. In October, iQiyi participated in the Busan Film Festival, signing exclusive rights to nearly 100 South Korean titles. On November 19, 2014, Xiaomi and Shunwei Capital invested $300 Million in iQiyi for about 10 percent to 15 percent of the site, while Baidu invested an additional $100 million and held about 80 percent.
On December 8, 2014, iQiyi's chief content officer Ma Dong said the portal planned to more than double original production in 2015, with at least 30 titles and 500 episodes on the slate compared to 13 in 2014. In 2015, iQiyi purchased the online copyrights of eight top entertainment shows in mainland China, and several entertainment shows in Taiwan and South Korea, including the Running Man. In March 2016, it announced it would launch in Taiwan. In June 2016 it reported it had 20 million subscribers.
On April 25, 2017, Netflix announced that it had reached a licensing deal with iQiyi, under which some Netflix original productions will be available on iQiyi day-and-date with their premiere elsewhere.
According to iResearch, a widely quoted third-party industry research firm, as of October 2014, iQiyi and PPS had a total of 202.18 million mobile viewers who watched content for 600.62 million hours on these platforms, with mobile videos reaching had a total of 308.17 million mobile viewers who watched content for a total of 1176.44 million hours on these platforms. Total video views reached 500 million. Each viewer watched content for an average of 229.05 minutes in October In mid-2015 the site had 5 million subscribers, in late 2015/early 2016 it had over 10 million and by June 2016, it had 20 million.
iQiyi bought exclusive Chinese rights to the hit South Korean show My Love from the Star, which to date has been viewed 2.7 billion times.