Updated below: The professional online video scene in China is now heating up, after a few years of fevered activity on the user-gen video side (with lots of pirated professional online video as well): now, after announcements by Chinese portal biggies like Sohu (NSDQ: SOHU) and Shanda (NSDQ: SNDA), search engine Baidu (NSDQ: BIDU) is also jumping into it, reportedly, with a Hulu-like online video service. It is tying up with Hulu investor, PE Firm Providence Equity Partners, for the professional content venture: Providence is investing about $60 million while Baidu will invest about $10 million in it, according to Reuters sources. The story says that a senior exec from China Mobile who recently resigned, Gong Yu, will head the JV. Very likely the investment was led out of Providence’s Hong Kong office; we have a query into Providence on this.
Updated below: Providence declined to comment on this. However, a source close to the discussions told us the deal is in final stages of being done, and an announcement is probably expected in the next couple of weeks. Baidu and Providence are the only two companies involved in it, the source says. The Reuters (NYSE: TRI) amount invested by Providence is wrong, the source says, though declined to give the exact number; my guess is probably higher than $60 million.
Update 2: Baidu has announced the venture officially, but did no disclose Providence’s name as an investor. Yu Gong, formerly president and COO of China Mobile’s 12580 business, has been appointed CEO of the new company, as reported yesterday.