The Chinese and internet search giant Baidu has agreed to purchase the Chinese live-streaming business JOYY for $3.6bn.

This deal has been put in place to help Baidu catch up in the fast-growing live and short video sectors, where it trails TikTok-owner Bytedance and social media leader Tencent.

Driven by changes in consumer behaviour that were accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic, Baidu earlier this year confirmed plans to grow its existing short content streaming activities based around the app called Haokan. Baidu is also the majority owner of perennially loss-making generalist streaming platform iQIYI.

The often rumoured acquisition of JOYY’s China businesses takes Baidu significantly further in the direction of short-form and may provide benefits to the YY Live business it is buying.

“This transaction will catapult Baidu into a leading platform for live streaming and diversify our revenue source,” said Robin Li, Co-Founder and CEO of Baidu in a filing.