Yesterday’s rumors have proven true: dominant Chinese search engine Baidu has officially announced their entry into the online video market in China. In fact, they’ve confirmed almost all of the rumors floating around yesterday: Baidu is involved, it’s a partnership, they’ll be soliciting content licensing agreements from professional content producers, it will be free with ad support (like Hulu), and Yu Gong, former China Mobile exec, will head up the site. Only Providence Equity Partners’ participation wasn’t confirmed.
As mentioned yesterday, the Chinese video market is lucrative—worth 162 million yuan ($23.73 million) in Q308, according to Analysys International. It’s little wonder that Baidu is eyeing the market (even though the Chinese search market is valued at 2B yuan [$293M], with Baidu controlling around two thirds of the market). China also faces piracy problems that seems more serious than those in the US, where a site with a similar model has enjoyed unexpected success at Hulu.