The Chinese ecommerce giant has accelerated its expansion into media and entertainment through investment or acquisition since 2014. Of these, the most interesting was its $200m investment in a Chinese soccer team, since renamed Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao Football Club.
Film, TV and online video
It’s no surprise Alibaba is eyeing media companies for investment and expansion. Box office returns in China reached RMB29.6 billion in 2014 (roughly $4.8bn), a 36 per cent year-on-year increase driven by increasing numbers of new screens and movie goers, according to an report by market research firm Entgroup (report in Chinese). The online video market saw a 76 percent year-on-year growth in revenues, mainly from advertising, reaching RMB24bn (roughly $4bn) in 2014, according to research firm iResearch. It is expected the two sectors will continue fast growth.
Alibaba has invested more than $2.4bn in four Chinese companies, across movie, TV, and digital content, since early 2014.
It bought a 59 per cent stake in ChinaVision Media Group in the first half of 2014, renaming it Alibaba Pictures Group. Its businesses include movie and TV program production or investment, magazine publishing and ads. Alibaba helps it distribute content online or through other tech means. Alibaba Pictures Group claimed it signed two top Chinese directors and would expand internationally by cooperating with production companies in Hollywood.
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