Alibaba Is Breaking Into the Movies

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Chinese technology giant Alibaba is ready for its close-up. The massive company bought a 60 percent stake in ChinaVision for $805 million in March, an 18.5 percent stake in Youku Tudou last month, and recently unveiled a $1 billion public offering. Now, Alibaba has registered a company called Alibaba Pictures Group (formerly Alibaba Films Group). The directors of the company, according to the filing, are Dong Ping and Zhao Chao. Rumors regarding the company’s move into the movies have been swirling for some time, though it remains to be seen just what, exactly, they plan on doing.

Reuters reports that “Alibaba is preparing for its U.S. listing later this year, potentially the biggest ever tech offering, even as it maintains a steady stream of investments that has seen the firm and its affiliates invest more than $6.2 billion since the beginning of the year.”

Dong Ping is listed as the chairman of ChinaVision, and the massive ChinaVision investment gives Alibaba vast access to TV and film content. Youku Tudou, a mix of Netflix and YouTube, is just one of the video projects into which Alibaba has invested money; cable and Internet TV firm Wasu Media Holding Co. Ltd. and ChinaVision Media Group Ltd. are two others.

Alibaba is responsible for 80 percent of all e-commerce in China, and its move into entertainment, while currently ambiguous, will undoubtedly have far-reaching effects.