Youku

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Youku.com Inc. (Chinese: 合一信息技术(北京)有限公司), doing business as Youku (simplified Chinese: 优酷; traditional Chinese: 優酷; pinyin: yōukù; literally "excellent (and) cool", NYSE: YOKU), is a video hosting service based in the People's Republic of China.

History

Youku was founded by Victor Koo, former President of Chinese Internet portal Sohu. Initial funding for the site came from 1Verge, a fund raised by Koo. A beta version of the site was launched with limited geographic reach in June 2006, and the website was formally launched in December 2006. In 2007, the company received $25 million in funding from venture capitalists. In December 2009, the company announced that it had raised a total of $110 million in private equity funding. Major investors include Brookside (Bain) Capital, Sutter Hill Ventures, Maverick Capital, and Chengwei Ventures.

The company initially emphasized user-generated content but has since shifted its focus to professionally-produced videos licensed from over 1,500 content partners.

As of January 2010, Youku.com was ranked #1 in Chinese Internet video sector according to Internet metrics provider CR-Nielsen. In 2008, Youku partnered with Myspace in China. Later that year, Youku became the sole online video provider embedded in the China Edition of popular web browser Mozilla Firefox.

In January 2010, Youku and competitor Tudou announced the creation of a video broadcasting exchange network, under which Youku and Tudou will cross-license professionally-produced video content.

Youku recorded gross revenues of 200 million RMB in 2009.

On December 8, Youku was listed at the New York Stock Exchange for its first time. The stock closed at $33.44 on its first day of trading giving the company a market capitalization of approximately $3.3 billion. For the first 9 months of 2010 Youku reported revenue of $35.1 million and recorded a loss of $25 million during this period. YouKu.com seems to have no relation to the Chinese domain youku.cn.

Features

Youku permits users to upload videos irrespective of length. Youku has partnered with over 1,500 license holders, including television stations, distributors, and film and TV production companies in China that regularly upload media content on the site.

Youku's video library includes many full length, popular films and TV episodes from the West. Viewers from around the world can see these films on Youku for free, though often with Chinese subtitles. Other popular sites such as Youtube cannot display this content because of copyright restrictions, but these laws either do not exist in China or are poorly enforced, enabling Youku to broadcast copyrighted content from their website without license. In January 2010, Youku implemented a digital fingerprinting technology intended to eliminate copyright infringing content on the site.

Some Youku videos are blocked to international IP addresses because of licensing issues.

See also

People's Republic of China portal
Internet portal
  • Tudou
  • 56.com


This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Youku,
which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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