Regulators give go-ahead to 247 firms

Chinese regulators have given 247 firms the go-ahead to run online video-sharing services after ordering dozens of companies to halt operations earlier this year — but it has not licensed China’s top three most popular websites.

The State Administration of Radio Film and Television approved mostly state-owned media, including the Xinhua news agency, People’s Daily and broadcaster CCTV. But Tudou.com, Youku.com and 56.com were missing from the list.

In March, China ordered 25 video-sharing websites, including Tudou.com, to halt operations and issued warnings to dozens of others, as it tightened its grip on online content.

A lack of clarity about regulations and uncertainty about how the rules will be enforced has caused widespread confusion in China’s Internet sector.

At the same time, Netcos and venture capitalists are coming in to take advantage of the huge market — China overtook the U.S. this year to become the world’s biggest Internet market as measured by the number of users, with 221 million webizens at the end of February.

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