Alibaba launches film company

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Chinese internet giant Alibaba has unveiled details of its new film and TV production company, Alibaba Pictures Group, which aims to produce 8-10 films a year.

The move follows Alibaba’s recent acquisition of Chinese film and TV producer and distributor ChinaVision Media. The deal, announced in March, 2014, sees Alibaba pay $804m for a 60% stake in ChinaVision, one of the major investors in Stephen Chow’s 2013 hit Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons.

In April, the e-commerce giant registered a film company in Hong Kong called Alibaba Films Group, before changing the name to Alibaba Pictures Group later in the month. Directors of the new company include ChinaVision chairman Dong Ping and executive director Zhao Chao.

ChinaVision’s board will propose at a special general meeting on June 16 to change its name to Alibaba Pictures Group and nominate Chinese star Jet Li (pictured) to its board as an independent director.

In addition to 8-10 movies a year, the new entity also plans to produce three to five television drama series and three to five online drama series a year.

ChinaVision also said in a filing that it would work with Alibaba to explore “building an e-commerce platform that would be focused on promoting and selling a variety of cultural and entertainment products to fans of the company’s films, television drama and other media content.”

Alibaba, which is limbering up for a $1bn US initial public offering, has recently spent more than $3bn on film and TV investments, including ChinaVision and stakes in video site Youku Tudou and internet TV company Wasu Media.

Alibaba Group already has a digital entertainment arm, which is involved in mobile games and music streaming service Xiami.