China's video visionary

By Wang Xing (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-03-01 11:18
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For many like Tudou, the arrival of new competitors is akin to a group of scrumpers helping themselves to the ripe grapes one had looked after for years. But Wang said he knew this would happen "from the first day when I established the company".

China's video visionary

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He said: "It is natural that big elephants will come when the market matures, but I don't believe that anyone can dominate China's online video market."

He denies his firm is in direct competition with content makers such as CCTV and Hunan TV because "the licensed content on only accounts for two to three percent of our total traffic".

Instead, he regards Tudou's biggest rival as Baidu, China's biggest search engine, because "a significant part" of Tudou's traffic comes from Baidu's video search service, and now it is launching its own content.

Liu Ning, an analyst at research firm BDA China, said compared with video sharing websites such as and, Chinese video streaming websites such as PPStream, PPLive and Xunlei may be the first to feel the heat.

In 2005, Google acquired YouTube and has provided billions in investment to make it the world's largest video sharing website.

Google's investment, Wang said, gave YouTube a unique advantage over its competitors, making it the world's biggest online video website even though it is still struggling to make a profit.

"The Chinese Internet firms are still small compared with their foreign counterparts, making them less capable of providing enough investment that online video websites require in their early days," Wang said.

However, he added that some Chinese Internet firms are now ready for acquisition. "We have also grown big enough," he said.

Baidu plans to establish an online platform similar to The firm announced last week that its new video website, called, will be launched in March.

However, Wang said he didn't think's business model could be successfully copied in China, mainly because the nation lacked dominant copyright owners and because of Chinese users' disparate appetite for video.

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He said even CCTV, China's biggest video content maker, accounts for only seven percent of China's soap opera market.

"In the United States, major networks could provide most of the content that American users want," he said.

"But in the Chinese mainland, Internet users want to watch videos from Taiwan province and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and the United States, Japan and South Korea."

He said his company plans to stick to user-generated content (UGC), although this often invites copyright disputes and sometimes scares away advertisers, according to the experience of YouTube. "Chinese advertisers are more tolerant of UGC because they don't have any other choice in China where few of the young people spend much time watching TV," he said.

On being asked whether he would sell Tudou, he replied firmly it was "not possible at least in the foreseeable future."

China's video visionary