Google, Baidu eye online video business

Updated: 2006-12-18 16:10

Google Inc and Inc, its biggest rival in China, are exploring similar options to expand their online video services in the world's fourth-largest economy.

Industry sources told reporters last week that the two Internet search leaders have independently had early discussions with some local video websites for potential business cooperation or possible acquisitions.

However, neither Internet giant has secured a specific target yet, said sources with knowledge of the situation.

The moves come after Google last month closed its US$1.65 billion acquisition of top online video-sharing site YouTube. Baidu also launched its own Chinese-language video Web channel on a trial basis a few months ago.

"Google and Baidu have the same idea of expanding their online video business in China, though they are still studying a variety of business proposals," said an Internet industry source close to the two websites in China.

"I think it's a very natural move. Especially for Google, it definitely wants a local version of YouTube as it has already established a Chinese version of the Google website," the source said.

The source, who declined to be identified, said Google is considering whether to simply translate its global YouTube site into Chinese or build up a brand-new "YouTube China," possibly through the acquisition of a local video-sharing website, which may cost more time and money.

"As a leader in China's rapidly growing Internet sector, we constantly evaluate opportunities to build value for our users and our shareholders," Baidu said in a statement Thursday.

"We will announce material business developments, if any, when appropriate."

Baidu declined any further comment while a spokesman for Google in China was not immediately available for comment.

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