Competition and collaboration: Chinese video websites, subtitle groups, state regulation and market

Kelly Hu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Chinese video websites emerged as early as 2005, when video-sharing websites such as the US-based YouTube were launched and sophisticated P2P streaming software became globally available. There were several hundred private Chinese video websites in their heyday, and most operated without authorisation. By 2012, the number of major private video websites had been drastically reduced to little more than ten, all of which had become large-scale businesses. This study argues that the development of Chinese video websites is a story of struggle and self-invention of identity. These websites have undergone a process of oscillation and transformation between piracy and copyright adherence that has involved grassroots Chinese subtitle groups, state intervention and market competition. There are various levels of competition and collaboration inside private video websites, between private and state-owned video websites and between subtitle groups and video websites. In addition, this study also emphasises fan affection and labour invested by some subtitle groups which ambivalently integrates with and yet transgresses the market strategy of video websites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-451
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Cultural Studies
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Sept


  • Chinese video websites
  • fan affection
  • market competition
  • state regulation
  • subtitle groups

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies


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