Tudou's Gary Wang talks hoop jumping

Urges producers to find local partners to navigate China

CANNES -- Gary Wang, the founder and CEO of Tudou, the Chinese answer to YouTube, presented the world's fastest-growing Internet market to the smattering of delegates attending the final MIPCOM keynote Thursday.

Rounding out a strong week of new-media conferences, Wang urged producers to seek local partners to help navigate complex regulatory hoops in the Chinese market: Think the fact that Tudou is required to clear each of its user-generated clips with authorities before posting them to the site.

The advice came too late for the French video-hosting service Dailymotion, which described how it had been banned in China.

"What can I say," Wang said. "You are showing things they don't want people to see. Censorship is something we learn to deal with."

With China recently surpassing the U.S. as the largest Internet market -- it now has 250 million Internet users -- and advertising spend booming, efforts to work within the red-tape restrictions could pay off.

The advertising market is worth about $25 billion a year, as per Wang, with online advertising growing by 57% in 2008.

Still, like its U.S. counterpart, YouTube, Tudou still has to figure out how to turn this into a profit.

The advertising-based company has made headway recently with Heido, a newly launched professional site dedicated to longform productions, drawing major advertisers such as Pepsi and KFC.

The No. 1 video-sharing site in China, Tudou serves about 70 million videos daily to 10 million unique users. Tudou was launched in 2005 with Silicon Valley backing.

China is one of the few markets where YouTube does not rank as the top video-sharing site. Ranking at No. 8 in China, YouTube is at a distinct disadvantage in a market where Chinese programming remains the most popular product for viewers of these sites.

"There is huge scope for growth," Wang said. "But you have to ask yourself if you are willing to jump through the kind of hoops companies like Google have in negotiating China."
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