The unfolded protein response (UPR) is generally activated in solid tumors and results in tumor cell anti-apoptosis and drug resistance. However, tumor-specific UPR transducers are largely unknown. In the present study, we identified CD147, a cancer biomarker, as an UPR inducer in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The expression of the major UPR target, Bip, was found to be positively associated with CD147 in human hepatoma tissues. By phosphorylating FAK and Src, CD147-enhanced TFII-I tyrosine phosphorylation at Tyr248. CD147 also induced p-TFII-I nuclear localization and binding to the Bip promoter where endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response element 1 (ERSE1) (-82/-50) is the most efficient target of the three ERSEs, thus increasing transcription of Bip. Furthermore, by inducing UPR, CD147 inhibited HCC cell apoptosis and decreased cell Adriamycin chemosensitivity, thus decreasing the survival rate of hepatoma-bearing nude mice. Together, these results reveal pivotal roles for CD147 in modulating the UPR in HCC and raise the possibility that CD147 is a target that promotes HCC cell apoptosis and increases the sensitivity of tumors to anti-cancer drugs. Therefore, CD147 inhibition provides an opportunity to enhance the efficacy of existing agents and represents a novel target for HCC treatment.