Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding has acquired a 60% stake in film and TV producer and distributor ChinaVision Media Group for $804m.
The deal gives Alibaba access to film and TV content at a time when competition with internet rivals such as Tencent Holdings and Baidu is intensifying.
Alibaba has recently stepped up its involvement in the entertainment and gaming sectors – launching the Ali TV operating system last July and a mobile gaming platform this year.
Tencent, which owns a minority stake in ChinaVision, is also moving into Alibaba’s turf by announcing the acquisition of a stake in online retailer JD.com earlier this week. Following the Alibaba deal, Tencent’s 8% stake in ChinaVision has been diluted to around 3%. Other ChinaVision shareholders include US venture capital firm Sequoia Capital.
ChinaVision was one of the major investors in the top-grossing movie in China last year; Stephen Chow’s Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons. It also produces and distributes television and sports content, including English Premier League football.
Dong Ping, ChinaVision chairman, was a co-producer on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and also has producer credits including Zhang Yuan’s Dada’s Dance and Gu Changwei’s And The Spring Comes.