Hepatitis B virus X protein (HBx) played a key role in the development of hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Emerging evidence has demonstrated that miR-181b and the inhibitor of growth protein 5 (ING5) participated in the pathophysiological process. However, the regulatory mechanism of HBx remained unknown. The expression of miR-181b and ING5 in HCC tissues and cell lines were examined using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and Western blotting. Cell viability was determined using the MTT method following HCC cell lines transfection. The interaction between miR-181b and ING5 was assessed by luciferase reporter assay. The nude mice tumor model was well established to evaluate the role and biological functions of HBx on the progression of HBV-related HCC in vivo. MiR-181b was upregulated and ING5 was downregulated in HCC tissues and cell lines. As suggested by the results from in vitro and in vivo experiments, HBx downregulates the expression of the miR-181b target gene ING5, resulting in the promotion of HCC cell proliferation. HBx accelerates proliferation activity of HCC cells by increasing miR-181b expression via targeting ING5, thereby influencing the progression of HBV-related HCC.