On the first day of the Year of Rabbit, a huge VC investment deal was announced. Chinese P2P Streaming company, PPLive got several hundred million USD investment from Softbank, said its CEO Vincent Chuang Tao in his personal microblog.

While not disclosing the actual sum, Vincent, who is a former Microsoft executive, said the amount is greater than what Youku raised in its IPO, which was about US$233 million.

Found in 2005, the P2P Streaming service allows users to watch video online, most of which are movies and TV drama. For a long time, the legitimacy of PPLive is questionable, as much of the content it carried are pirated. Although the service is extremely popular in China, it was not a darling of VC investors until recently. Maybe Softbank thought if Youku, which has the same piracy issue, can go IPO in the U.S., PPLive should have no problem, either.

PPLive claimed 200 million users has installed its software and every month there are about 100 million users using their service. In terms of easy of use, Youku and Tudou are better, as there is no need to download and install software. But in terms of video quality, PPLive are better, as it allows users to download HD quality of video.

And while Tudou and Youku have to use loads and loads money to buy bandwidth in order to satisfied their users’ thirst for more movies and TV shows, PPLive needs not. It uses peer-to-peer technology. That means users supply their own bandwidth. (Clever!!)

It seems there are quite a few bad news for Youku recently, (and the same for its closest competitor, Tudou). Firstly, both Sohu and Baidu claimed their online video business are doing very well, eating into market share of the two. Now, PPLive, which is offering a similar service, has got a strong booster.

Author of Red Wired: China's Internet Revolution, the first book to completely survey the nature of China's internet. (http://redwiredrevolution.com/) She previously was the lead China technology reporter...

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