SHANGHAI/BEIJING, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Chinese internet search firm Baidu Inc posted a forecast-beating quarterly revenue increase and unveiled a U.S. listing plan for its Netflix-like video platform iQiyi as it looks to rev up new drivers for growth.
A U.S. listing would bring extra financial muscle for its popular iQiyi platform as it ramps up spending.
The strong quarterly showing - driven by the core search and news feed businesses - is also key to generating cash flow "to fund our new AI businesses", Baidu chief executive Robin Li told a post-earnings conference call.
The firm will also raise R&D spending in areas like its Apollo open-source software platform for autonomous driving, which executives said would eventually become a "very material and significant revenue source for the company".
"Having said that, a key caveat is that this market will take time to build," chief operating officer Qi Lu told the conference call.
Strong results in its more traditional businesses were central to Baidu's success, with revenue from its core online marketing - including its search platform and news feed - jumping 26.3 percent to 20.4 billion yuan.
The results will help soothe Baidu investors as the company looks to turn around its fortunes after a series of missteps sparked steep losses in 2016 and hit its advertising revenue from internet searches.
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