Business / Companies

Video player Qvod hit with porn prosecution

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-09-25 10:56

BEIJING - Five managers of online video service Qvod will face prosecution on suspicion of spreading pornography on the Internet, Chinese police revealed on Wednesday.

The case concerning the Shenzhen-based Qvod Technology Co Ltd has been transferred to the prosecuting authorities for further investigation and prosecution, the Ministry of Public Security said in a statement.

Preliminary investigation found that the company, headed by Wang Xin, had spread a large amount of porn and pirated content via the popular video player since the end of 2012 and made huge profits by charging users and advertisers.

The turnover of the company reached hundreds of millions of yuan, and Wang and the other four suspects earned large sums, the statement said.

They admitted these "criminal facts," it added.

Police arrested 10 suspects in the case in April, but Wang fled abroad. He was arrested on Aug 7 in the Republic of Korea and repatriated to China on Aug 8.

The Chinese government has intensified its crackdown on pornography. Campaigns have been launched to inspect and shut down violating websites.

With the fall of Qvod, similar services have reportedly been swift to remove porn from their sites.

Using cloud technologies, Qvod is an online storage station that allows users to store and upload videos with a volume of up to 1,000 GB. Users can also watch these videos online via computer and mobile phone after installing the player.

China had more than 351 million online storage users as of the end of March, providing a huge market for porn business "sheltering in the cloud."

Pornography publishers have also started to tap social networking platforms and instant messaging apps like the widely used Weibo and WeChat, which makes the spread of the material more covert.

"This challenges the crackdown on the spread of porn. As it is conducted point to point via chatting apps, monitoring such content can easily infringe on personal privacy," said Sun Yuanming from the Chongqing Academy of Social Sciences.

Since April, China has closed nearly 1.8 million social networking and instant messaging accounts for releasing porn and inviting people to solicit prostitutes. The closed accounts are mainly on WeChat and QQ, as well as microblogs.

Supervising the content of online storage services is also difficult, as it is a kind of personal document management tool and can't be reached via search engines, Sun added.

Web portals' main motivation for spreading porn is to gain clicks, but major platforms like Qvod should not ignore their social responsibilities, said Xia Xueluan, professor with the Peking University Department of Sociology.

He called for authorities to strengthen curb on such "porn marketing."

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