Could China’s Youku Tudou Overtake YouTube in the Global Video Market?

China likes to keep its online video industry in the family, and no company has benefited more from keeping YouTube out of the world’s largest online video market than Youku Tudou. The two streaming giants (Youku and Tudou) merged together last month and is currently the top video website in China. They currently reach more than 310 million users (almost 80 percent of online video viewers in China) per week and serve more than 1.6 billion hours of video monthly as compared to YouTube’s 800 million unique visitors per month and over 4 billion hours of videos viewed monthly.

Now that Youku Tudou is the largest online video site in their homeland, will they conquer the world next? Not so fast, says CEO Victor Koo during a conference call reported by the Hollywood Reporter. Koo said that while the costs of doing business will remain stable after the merger, they’re holding off on their international conquest for now.

One thing that could hinder Youku Tudou’s possible international success is the myriad of licensing agreements worldwide, which largely hinder most content from going international. Koo cited Chinese dramas that are popular with overseas Chinese. While Youku Tudou can stream them in China, it can’t be broadcast anywhere else because of such agreements.

Youku Tudou CEO Victor Koo

Koo told the Hollywood Reporter: “Similar to Hulu, a lot of traditional media companies’ content…[is] geo-blocked. So there is still a combination of programs that are not available to overseas users.”

Since YouTube can’t expand into China just yet, if Youku Tudou decides to expand stateside and beyond, they will already have a competitive edge and will give creators another option to upload their work. Their strong numbers in the world’s biggest nation could potentially pose a credible threat to YouTube once large production companies make licensing agreements more favorable to a global audience.