Online video companies in China continue to attract investors, as they battle it out for the attention of the 1.3 billion people that reside there. The latest to raise money is Tudou.com, which has amassed an additional $50 million Series E investment led by Singapore-based Temasek Holdings.
Temasek has ponied up $35 million, with existing investors such as IDG Technology Venture Investment, Granite Global Ventures, General Catalyst Partners, Capital Today, Jafco Asia, KTB Ventures and JAIC contributing the rest. Tudou’s last financing round came over two years ago, when it raised $57 million in April 2008. Altogether, Tudou has raised $135 million since being founded in 2005, which it says is the most for an online video site in China.
Tudou faces fierce — and increasing — competition in a still-fragmented online video market in China. While YouTube early on emerged as the leading video player in the U.S. and other countries around the world, there are still a number of sites battling for online video supremacy in the Chinese market.
Among Tudou’s competition is Youku.com, which raised $40 million in financing in December. Unlike Tudou, which hosts mainly user-generated content, Youku primarily licenses professional content. But Youku is looking to build its UGC library by encouraging its users to submit their own videos.
And then there’s Qiyi, the fledgling video site backed by Chinese search giant Baidu. Qiyi is also backed by Hulu investor Providence Equity Partners, which contributed $50 million to help launch the new site.
For its part, Tudou is looking to compete more aggressively with those Chinese video companies by adding more licensed, professional content to its own site– the company is introducing its own original programming, with a drama series launching this fall. According to the press release, Tudou is also looking to differentiate itself by developing technology for a mobile or portable media device that could potentially enable users to watch videos on the go.
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