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US firm preps ‘Chinese Hulu’

Providence is understood to have teamed with Chinese ISP Baidu and is preparing to launch an online video service in the country along the lines of US service Hulu.

US private equity firm Providence is an investor in Hulu alongside NBC, News Corp and Disney and, according to wire reports, will invest US$60 million in the Chinese joint venture – with Baidu committing about US$10 million.

The Chinese service will reportedly feature licensed content and a fund has been created to acquire TV programming. Reuters reported that Gong Yu, who recently left China Mobile, will run the as yet unnamed service.

The Chinese online advertising market is growing fast. Media buyer ZenithOptimedia figures suggest it was worth US$3.1 billion last year and that the total will rise to US$3.9 billion in 2010.

Baidu has already worked with Western media companies having inked a deal with Discovery last July to launch Discovery.baidu.com, a factual content website.