Tudou, after facing death by Chinese regulator, pulls in $57 million

Video-sharing site scolded for insufficient censorship (mainly of porn), raises reportedly "the largest round of funding ever for a Chinese Internet company."

Tudou, which had been scolded for insufficient censorship (namely, of porn) and faced either threats or rumors of a government shutdown as recently as last month , is looking a little healthier this week.

China Web 2.0 Review reports:

Tudou, the largest video-sharing Web site in China, finally officially announced its $57 million series D financing at a $150 million valuation, which is the largest round of funding ever for a Chinese Internet company. (This takes) Tudou's total fund-raising to $85 million over the past three years. (In previous rounds of funding), Tudou raised $500,000, $8.5 million, and $19 million respectively.

This is not likely a low-risk investment. Not only are Internet companies hard to predict, but the video sector in China is heavily regulated and subject to shutdown orders on a moment's notice from authorities.

There are real incentives for the government to keep these companies going, however: they grow the economy, they represent Chinese successes, and they circulate a lot of material that is in no way illicit. But I see one more bump in their future.

Tudou is still a bastion of copyright infringement . Entire TV series, just as before the recent crackdown, are available on the site. If authorities get serious about their intellectual-property efforts, or just want to make a public gesture in that direction, Tudou will need to be ready to quickly remove a vast amount of material from its site and institute controls more like, say, YouTube .

About the author

    Formerly a journalist and consultant in Beijing, Graham Webster is a graduate student studying East Asia at Harvard University. At Sinobyte, he follows the effects of technology on Chinese politics, the environment, and global affairs. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network, and is not an employee of CNET. Disclosure.

     

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