Here in, we investigated the mechanism underlying overexpression of miR-135b in the human head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) cell lines and in the HNSCC mouse model. Exogenous expression of miR-135b in these cell lines increased cell proliferation, migration, and colony formation. Gene silencing analysis revealed that miR-135b affects a regulator that inhibits hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF). Increased miR-135b expression was positively correlated with HIF-1a expression and microvessel density in the HNSCC model. Thus, our data demonstrate that miR-135b acts as a tumor promoter by promoting cancer cell proliferation, colony formation, survival, and angiogenesis through activation of HIF-1a in HNSCC.