The two biggest video sites in China are joining forces: Youku and Tudou have announced plans to merge, creating a new entity dubbed Youku Tudou Inc. that the companies claim will become "one of the largest Internet properties in China." With the absence of YouTube — which has been blocked in China since 2009 — Youku and Tudou have become the two largest video sites in the country. Both currently offer a combination of user-generated video and licensed film and television content, and with the merger they expect to see "significant synergies" over how that content is utilized with the new, larger userbase. Despite the new name, the two brands will remain distinct from one another — but now they'll be able to share content, advertisers, and expenses like bandwidth. The merger has already been approved by the boards of directors for both companies, and the deal is expected to be put in place by the third quarter of this year.