Youku Tudou Inc., (formerly Youku Inc.) doing business as Youku (simplified Chinese: 优酷; traditional Chinese: 優酷; pinyin: Yōukù; literally: "excellent (and) cool"), is a video hosting service based in Beijing, China. It operates as a subsidiary of Alibaba Group Holding Limited.
|Type of business||Subsidiary|
Type of site
|Video hosting service|
|Revenue||US$ 649.5 million (2014)|
|Alexa rank||1,650 (April 2018[update])|
(required to upload and/or comment on videos)
|Launched||December 21, 2006|
On March 12, 2012, Youku reached an agreement to acquire Tudou in a stock-for-stock transaction, the new entity being named Youku Tudou Inc. It has more than 500 million monthly active users, with 800 million daily video views.
Youku is one of China's top online video and streaming service platforms, alongside with iQiyi, Sohu, LeTV, Tencent Video, PPTV, 56.com and Funshion. However, Youku's domination in the Chinese market has been toppled by its competitor Baidu's iQiyi.
Youku now has streaming services for shows and films that can be distinguished from YouTube.
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Being under the conjunction of the Chinese Government, Youku won't allow users to upload videos that rattles Chinese censors.
Youku was founded by Victor Koo (Gu Yongqiang), former President of Chinese Internet portal Sohu. Initial funding for the site came from 1Verge, a fund raised by Koo. A beta version of the site was launched with limited geographic reach in June 2006, and the website was formally launched in December 2006. In 2007, the company received $25 million in funding from venture capitalists. In December 2009, the company announced that it had raised a total of $110 million in private equity funding. Major investors include Brookside (Bain) Capital, Sutter Hill Ventures, Maverick Capital, and Chengwei Ventures.
The company initially emphasized user-generated content but has since shifted its focus to professionally produced videos licensed from over 1,500 content partners.
As of January 2010, Youku.com was ranked #1 in the Chinese Internet video sector according to Internet metrics provider CR-Nielsen, (keeping in mind that YouTube is banned in China). In 2008, Youku partnered with Myspace in China. Later that year, Youku became the sole online video provider embedded in the China Edition of Mozilla Firefox.
Youku recorded gross revenues of 200 million RMB in 2009.
On December 8, 2010, Youku was listed at the New York Stock Exchange for its first time. The stock closed at $33.44 on its first day of trading giving the company a market capitalization of approximately $3.3 billion. For the first 9 months of 2010 Youku reported revenue of $35.1 million and recorded a loss of $25 million during this period. YouKu.com seems to have no relation to the Chinese domain youku.cn.
Victor Koo was once an employee of Bain & Company, one of the most prominent management consulting firms in the world. 
On March 12, 2012, Youku and Tudou two of the biggest online video companies in China announced plans to merge, creating one of China's biggest video sites. Prior to the announcement of the merger, Youku was the #11 website in China, and Tudou was #14. The company's name was changed to Youku Tudou Inc. The chairman of the board is Victor Koo, the founder of Youku. The company had a stock listed on the NYSE, YOKU before being acquired by Alibaba Group on 6 November 2015. In December 2016 it reported it had 30 million subscribers.
- "Contact Us." Youku. Retrieved on December 27, 2010. "Beijing 5th Floor, Sinosteel Plaza, 8 Haidian Dajie, Haidian District, Beijing, 100080, China."
- "版权声明." Youku. Retrieved on December 27, 2010. "北京市海淀区海淀大街8号中钢国际大厦5层" and "合一信息技术（北京）有限公司"
- "Financial statement FY2014." Youku. Retrieved on April 22, 2015
- "Youku Tudou Inc (ADR): NYSE:YOKU quotes & news - Google Finance". Google.com. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- "Youku.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2018-04-01.
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- "Contact Us." Youku. Retrieved 27 December 2010. "Beijing 5th Floor, Sinosteel Plaza, 8 Haidian Dajie, Haidian District, Beijing, 100080, China."
- Chao, Loretta; Steger, Isabella (March 12, 2012). "China's Youku to Buy Chief Rival Tudou". The Wall Street Journal. New York. Retrieved March 12, 2012.
- "Youku Tudou Partners with Xiaomi to Accelerate Multi-Screen Ecosystem Development". Youku Tudou. November 12, 2014. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
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- "The next generation of entrepreneurs." The Economist. November 21, 2012. Retrieved on July 28, 2013. "Victor Koo (Gu Yongqiang) is worth watching,[...]Mr Koo’s firm, Youku Tudou,[...]"
- "09中国互联网大会嘉宾：优酷CEO古永锵." (Archive) Sina. August 20, 2009. Retrieved on July 28, 2013. "古永锵 (Victor Koo)[...]"
- Kristen Nicole2007-11-21 06:47:07 UTC (2007-11-21). "Youku Hits the Jackpot with $25M". Mashable.com. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- Chao, Loretta (December 21, 2009). "China Site Youku.com Raises $40 Million". The Wall Street Journal.
- Mike Sachoff (2008-03-14). "MySpace China Partners With Video Site Youku". WebProNews. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- "Youku and Mozilla Partner to Enrich Online Video Viewing at 谋智新闻". Blog.mozilla.com. 2012-01-04. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- Global Times - Video sites cooperate on copyrighted films Archived December 20, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
- INTERVIEW - Youku eyes overseas listing, partnerships
- Youku Investor Relations
- Hille, Kathrin (12 March 2012). "Youku and Tudou to merge amid cost rises". ft.com. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
- BARBOZA, DAVID (12 March 2012). "2 Video Web Sites in China Plan a Merger". nytimes.com. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
- Takada, Kazunori (12 March 2012). "Youku to buy Tudou, creating China online video giant". reuters.com. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
- Flannery, Russell (12 March 2012). "Land Of The Large: Youku, Tudou Merger Latest In China's Web Consolidation". forbes.com. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
- "Chinese Web Video Rivals To Merge". March 12, 2012.
- "Alibaba Buys Youku in Deal Said to Be Valued at $4.8 Billion". Bloomberg.com. November 6, 2015. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
- Xiang, Tracey (12 December 2016). "China's Online Video Market in the Middle of Transition to Paid Subscribers, Self-Produced Content". TechNode. Retrieved 2 January 2017.