Youku, the Chinese online streaming site, has been accused of plagiarising Netflix’s Squid Game.
The platform promoted a new show titled Squid’s Victory at an investment fair on Wednesday (October 20), using a poster which closely resembles the iconography, including pink circle and triangle symbols, used in Netflix’s South Korean hit.
After being criticised online, Youku issued an apology and claimed that it was a “draft” poster, while renaming the show from Squid’s Victory to Game’s Victory.
The apology on Weibo read: “Due to a work error, the first draft of the new Game’s Victory show – which was shot down before – was mistakenly used in promotional activities at a trade fair.”
Youku also released a new poster for the show, with the font changed and pink symbols removed.
The apology sparked another wave of criticism on Weibo. One user wrote (via South China Morning Post): “On the one hand we complain about Koreans stealing our culture, and on the other hand, we copy their work when they produce something popular.”
Squid Game, which is Netflix’s biggest launch for a series ever, has become popular in China despite not being officially released there. Many citizens have been watching the show via illegal streaming sites or by downloading torrents.
The show has topped Netflix’s charts in 94 countries since it was released in September, according to the streaming giant.
According to Bloomberg, the show’s success has also generated $891.1million in “impact value” for the company – a metric used by Netflix to measure a title’s performance.