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Alibaba Pictures Warns of $140 Million in Potential Losses

Variety logo Variety 2/19/2017 Patrick Frater
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Alibaba Pictures Group has warned of massive losses for calendar year 2016 that could reach $137 million to $140 million (RMB950 million to RMB1 billion). The company blamed the losses on continuing start-up and promotional costs at its online ticketing business, Tao Piao Piao.

Alibaba Pictures Group, which is controlled by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba but has separate share listings in Hong Kong and Singapore, issued a profit warning to regulators in both markets.

In 2015, it managed to turn a profit of RMB466 million, but in the first half of 2016 it returned to losses of an almost identical RMB465 million.

Describing Tao Piao Piao as “a key operating asset,” APG said that the unit “continued to use its financial resources to implement its marketing strategies in order to grow its business, and has further enhanced its user experience and strengthened its market position by the end of 2016.”

It is understood that video streaming business Youku Tudou, integrated into APG after being acquired by Alibaba last year, may also be loss-making.

Towards the end of last year, APG replaced Zhang Qiang as chairman and anointed Yu Yongfu, a technologist and high flying corporate executive, as chairman, CEO and board director. It also signed Harry Potter series producer David Heyman to produce a film based on the young adult “Warriors” series of novels, and bought an equity stake in Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners.

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