500px Acquired by Chinese Photo Agency Known as the 'Getty of China'

500px Acquired by Chinese Photo Agency Known as the 'Getty of China'

500px announced that Visual China Group (VCG) — aka China’s Getty — has acquired 100 percent of its shares. Thanks to 500px’s huge user base, the move means that VCG is now the world’s third largest visual content provider.

Boasting over 13 million members, photo sharing site 500px has often been considered a rival to the likes of Flickr. VCG was said to have been attracted to acquiring the platform as a means of “expanding its visual content licensing business.”

Exact details of the deal are unconfirmed, although one report suggests a figure of $17 million. Back in January 2016, VCG also acquired Corbis, Bill Gates’ photo licensing agency.

After ousting 500px co-founder Oleg Gutsol a number of years ago over disputes about the direction of the company, a previous investment by VCG had seen the photo sharing platform direct more focus toward the Greater China market, after which the company even launched in China shortly after VCG’s $8 million investment in 2015.

VCG will now have influence over the future direction of 500px. It’s said the two companies will combine resources for future updates and features, which this year should include greater statistics for photographers to better understand the reach of their work.

Amy Jun Liang, Chief Executive Officer of VCG, said:

As one of the largest visual-content-licensing companies in the world, VCG has always been excited by the passion of the 500px community […] by integrating our learnings and resources across both 500px.com and 500px.me, we will further enrich our content creation, technology expertise, product offering, and continue to deliver the best service and experience to our millions of visual creatives."

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14 Comments

It is dead to me now.

Timothy Turner's picture

When all of our equipment is made in other countries I am not concerned about this.

Alex Armitage's picture

Should be noted that they have had majority shares since 2015 iirc.

Johnny Rico's picture

Thankfully China as a whole respects intellectual property rights.

Leigh Miller's picture

You guys are kinda slow....better late than never I guess.

Agree on both sides...much of the camera industry is based in Asian but they have a very bad reputation when it comes to respecting the intellectual/copyrights of others.

Tomash Masojc's picture

They holded half of 500px from 2015...stop that crying.

500px is dead years ago...

On the plus side, they probably won't block this site in China like almost everything else they block.

Antti Mutka's picture

Good reason to get out. Personally 500px has been dead to me for a while now so I deleted everyhing and said my farewell to the platform.

Scott Weaver's picture

If only the photographers could reap the returns they deserve for their work. It's been 20 years since that was really possible. Bill Gates and Corbis, along with a handful of other mega players in the late 1990's laid the groundwork for this. They earned millions in the process. Yes, it was probably all inevitable, because of technology... but we don't have to thank them for it.

Spy Black's picture

"...aka China’s Getty..."

So then they'll be stealing everybody's images...

Marc Synwoldt's picture

Just deleted my complete account. Had already ended my subscription. Good luck with the Chinese and their respect for property rights.

Colin Murdison's picture

What site are all the pros going to? More and more of my favorite pros are MIA on 500px. I liked the way the 500px rating system and categories combined to sort through the dross. Most site alternatives are focused on individual portfolio creation. To search often requires pre-identifying the name of the photographer. Also, most sites prohibit nudity and I really appreciate fine art nudes. Combining People, Nude and Fashion categories in "Popular" always featured fantastic images. Quality is going down noticeably as more and more pros like Karl Louis, Dani Fehr, Ivan Warhammer, Andrew Lucas and so many others vanish.