Hong Kong gets own version of YouTube

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 October, 2007, 12:00am

YouTube, the world's most popular video sharing portal, yesterday launched its Hong Kong version, the first local site in China, enabling non-English-speakers in the city to view and add to the portal's content more easily.

The Hong Kong version has secured content deals with local media such as RTHK and ATV.

YouTube, which was bought by internet search engine Google last year, said the Hong Kong site - http://hk.youtube.com - would allow users to demonstrate their talent to the site's international community.

The interface of the Hong Kong version will be displayed in traditional Chinese characters, rather than English, and content uploaded by Hong Kong users will show up in top favourites and recommended content on the local site.

The Hong Kong site will be the 11th local site launched by YouTube, following Japan, Britain, Italy, Mexico and others.

'The Hong Kong version can be a showcase for all local content to local users, and with our global reach, we can help bridge communities worldwide,' Steve Chen, co-founder and chief technology officer at YouTube, said.

YouTube had experienced robust growth in viewers and the number of video clips uploaded since it launch in December 2005, he said.

Hundreds of thousands of new videos were added each day and more than 100 million videos were watched by global viewers every day, up from 3 million when the site was launched, Mr Chen said.

To help generate local use, YouTube has linked up with ATV and RTHK, with the two broadcasters to host specific channels on YouTube Hong Kong.

'By putting our programmes on YouTube, we can have a bigger audience reach in Hong Kong and in the world,' ATV's vice-president of programming Cheung Wai-kit said. 'As we just launched our new programmes earlier this month, the online platform should help us to establish a new audience base.'

RTHK is putting some of its popular current affairs and educational television programmes such as Media Watch, Sex Education and Police Report, on YouTube.

The Tourism Board is also using YouTube's global reach by hosting the new Hong Kong Reality Channel.

'The channel is to showcase our culture and how Hong Kong is exciting to overseas visitors, creating in them a desire to visit Hong Kong,' Kenneth Wong Cheuk-hung, head of consumer marketing at the board, said.

YouTube recently launched new technology to remove copyrighted clips automatically from its portal in a bid to placate movie and television studios fed up with piracy problems.