Baidu’s Iqiyi overtakes Youku as China’s most popular video service

Move over, Youku: The site that has long been called China’s YouTube just got dethroned by its competitor Iqiyi as the country’s most popular video service. Iqiyi, which is owned by the Chinese internet giant Baidu, attracted 94 million monthly active users in January, compared to Youku’s(S YOKU) 83.5 million, according to new numbers from iResearch.

chinese online video stats january 2014

Monthly active users for China’s top video sites in January. All numbers in multiples of 10,000. Source: iResearch.

Iqiyi was launched in 2010 with investments from both Baidu and Providence Equity Partners. Baidu bought out Providence in 2012,  and went on to acquire PPStream in 2013. 

The race for the top spot comes at a time of overall consolidation in the Chinese video market, which is largely driven by rising licensing costs for professional content. Late last year, China’s retail giant Suning and the Hony investment group acquired PPTV for $420 million.