How to Download Movies and Videos from YouKu (the Chinese YouTube)

How to Download Movies and Videos from YouKu (the Chinese YouTube)

By Dennis Ming Nichols

When China started blocking YouTube.com, we expats may have felt like we had lost a relative. However, we soon became aware of YouTube's illegitimate Chinese cousin YouKu ( 优酷 pronounced yōukù or “yo koo”). YouKu is a bit more "wild-west" that YouTube. Sometimes you can find full Hollywood movies, music videos, and other valuable intellectual property all for free streaming in addition to all the normal viral videos, stupid pet tricks and almost-porn-but-not-quite teases you'd find on YouTube. YouKu also lets you download these videos onto your hard-drive so you archivists can watch them anytime you like.

It is very easy take any video from YouKu and save it to your computer. All you need to do is download a tiny program call iKu. To do that, go to this website: http://c.youku.com/iku . Click the button that says download ( 下载 ) and save the .exe file to your desktop. According to the website, there is no Mac-compatible version. You can also find a link to the iKu download by clicking the download button on the bottom right of any video on YouKu (see below).

Once you click on the .exe file on your desktop and click through all the OKs, then iKu is now installed. You can then open it. It looks something like this:

In the input field, just paste the web address (URL) of the video you want then press the button to the right that says “Start download.” In a few seconds or minutes, the video will be downloaded to your harddrive. The default folder is “(My) Documents\YouKu Files\download.”

You can also manage your downloaded videos via the iKu software (see below).

Happy downloading!