Tudou: Chinese Online Video Taking Off

Baidu is the Google of China. But who is the YouTube of China? That would be Tudou, of course!

Shanghai-based Tudou had almost 29 million visitors each week in August 2007, more than double the 11.5 million three months earlier, based on the latest data from Nielsen//NetRatings. Tudou’s closest rival is Youku.com followed by 56.com, which are both Chinese-language sites.

And it looks like Tudou could extend its lead now that it raised another $57 million. Although the company did not disclose its investors, reports have said the money came from IDG Technology Venture Investment, Granite Global Ventures, General Catalyst Partners, and a member of the Rockefeller family. (IDG Ventures, Granite Global Ventures and JAFCO Ventures invested in a previous round.) Tudou, which began operations in April 2005, has now raised a total of $85 million.

Chinese folks love online video. China was home to 210 million Internet users at the end of 2007, according to the China Network Information Center. About 77 percent of Web users watched online videos last year, more than doubling from 2006, said the government agency.

But like the search market has shown, Chinese are not gravitating to Western brands online. They want to consume content in their own language made by their own people by and large. This native bias will continue to be a challenge for US-based Internet companies trying to penetrate China.

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