The top 10 copyright owners in China were named last week at the 2016 China Copyright Service Annual Conference in Beijing, including the online video sharing site tycoon iQiyi, a subsidiary of search engine Baidu.

"As an Internet company, we started in a zero-sum game because of the harmful copyright ecosystem in 2010, when the company was established," said Wang Zhaonan, general manager of government affairs for iQiyi, adding that the company bought as many products as they could afford and insisted on safeguarding the copyright of those products.

"When the works were bought by our company, we worked to tackle piracy to change the online copyright environment, including informing violators of infringements and taking them to court," Wang said.

The company also established a copyright protection system.

He contributed the company's success to the support from its parent company.

"One episode cost a few thousand yuan in the past, but now costs much more," Wang said, adding that price increases caused many small-and medium-sized companies to close.

He said selling content online was not an easy task when free resources were abundant, while his company paid for every minute of content on its website.

"But we held the belief that legal works can also make money," Wang said, adding that the company has three core principles: legality, high-definition and user experience.

In 2014, iQiyi streamed a South Korean soap opera, My Love from the Star. Although the show was costly, the company gained much more profit from it because it attracted thousands of millions of viewers.

The number of people paying to use iQiyi had increased to 10 million by December.

The company's hard work has also gained widespread recognition and it has been awarded as a municipal, national and international model organization for copyright protection.

The value of copyright protection is also recognized by other Internet companies.

Tencent's Video will follow three essential strategies in 2016: to be self-produced, and focus on copyright and user experience, Sun Zhonghuai, vice-president of Tencent Holding, said at a conference in November.

Victor Koo, CEO of Youku Tudou Inc, said the value of copyright protection is important for the video-streaming industry.

The copyright environment of China's online video sharing industry, which started to boom in 2005, was in chaos before 2010, Wang from iQiyi said.

Online piracy was once rampant in China. Internet users uploaded works, including movies, TV shows and books, for use by others for free, which was an easy way to share information but badly harmed China's online copyright environment.

As Web users became used to free online resources, they resisted paying for content.

Yan Xiaohong, deputy chief of the National Copyright Administration, delivered a speech at the conference, saying he hoped those honored could generate and promote more copyright protection.

The Chinese government has made great efforts to tackle online infringements in recent years.

"In the past year, when China's economy was facing the challenge of the economic downturn, the copyright protection industry has remained in an upward trend," Yan said, adding that the country made remarkable achievements in copyright protection in 2015, including tackling infringements, promoting genuine software usage and copyright registrations.