Leading Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar Wai will produce the first project to be greenlit by China’s Alibaba Pictures, a drama entitled Bai Du Ren (Ferryman).

Set to star Tony Leung Chiu-wai, the film will be written and directed by Chinese novelist Zhang Jiajia, adapted from his own short story about helping people with difficulties “to get to the other side”.

Alibaba Pictures has also acquired international rights to Jean-Jacques Annaud’s Wolf Totem, which will be released in China over the Chinese New Year holidays, along with the rights to adapt My Fair Princess.

Previously known as ChinaVision, Alibaba Pictures was renamed after it was acquired by ecommerce giant Alibaba last year. The company has investment deals with Wong Kar Wai’s Block 2 Pictures, Peter Ho-sun Chan’s We Pictures and Hong Kong filmmaker Stephen Chow.

Alibaba Pictures Group CEO and executive director Zhang Qiang said: “The company will leverage Alibaba Group’s cloud computing and big data technologies to help tap customer demand and create a comprehensive ecosystem for its film and television production and marketing business.”