We have reported that Youku, the leading online video site had launched its video search engine, called Soku. As we know there are several popular video sites out there such as Tudou, Joy.cn, 56, Sina Video, Sohu Vido, Qiyi, CNTV etc, Soku is indeed a convenient service for the fans who love watch videos online.

Soku is nice. Three primary services are offered on Soku: Top Searched, Movies, and TV Shows.

  • Top Searched: The Top Searched feature is pure awesome. As someone who is typically oblivious to what’s good out there, having effective links attached to rankings makes my life just that much easier. Top Search ranks by Movies, TV Shows, genre, and celebrities.
  • Movies: With just about every new international blockbuster, users can rank and find multiple links for each movie. It’s like the child of IMBD and RottenTomatoes, but with Youku’s, 56.com’s, Tudou’s, etc databases combined. PURE AWESOME.
  • TV Shows: The essence of this is the same as the movies, but unfortunately with the recent crackdowns on TV show licenses many shows don’t have links or are quickly broken.

So why Youku wanted to do this and ‘open-up’ to have its competitors’ videos aggregated into its own search engine. The following diagram clearly tells you the reason. With enough money in the pocket after its IPO, what Youku wants is not just No.1 in the market but the first entry for Chinese watching video online.

Note that the search giant Baidu runs a similar service, video.baidu.com. And when we talked about Baidu’s Qiyi a year ago, we said Qiyi had a great potential because 30%-50% of traffic to online video sites in Chinese is driven by Baidu. And Qiyi’s reaching 100millions users within a year obviously proved that. So, in other words, Youku’s ambition might be to take the place of Baidu, at least in the video search market.

[This post is written by Michelle Chen from Guanghua School of Management, Peking University, and revised by Gang Lu.]