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Alibaba Poised to Invest $7.2 Billion in Entertainment (Report)

Variety logo Variety 12/28/2016 Patrick Frater
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Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment, part of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, is planning to invest $7.2 billion (RMB50 billion) in entertainment and media over the next three years.

The plan surfaced in an internal email and was first reported by Reuters. According to the agency the company verified the document as genuine.

The plan is being spearheaded by Yu Yongfu, who joined the Alibaba parent group in 2014, and in a meteoric rise has come to head the digital group. He also recently took over as chairman and CEO of Alibaba’s listed film making subsidiary Alibaba Pictures group.

A former financier with Legend Capital and seasoned technology executive, Yu said in the email that he “did not come to play.” He pledged to invest in content.

It is not clear whether the investment figure stated in the email includes costs of a previously announced consolidation of Alibaba’s media assets or the  recently announced commitment to starting a $1.45 billion (RMB10 billion) content fund.

Alibaba Pictures recently invested in Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners. It also committed to financing a young adult film “The Warriors” with “Harry Potter” producer David Heyman producing. While Heyman says that does not yet constitute a franchise, APG has confirmed that it bought out global film adaptation rights to the entire 36-volume series of books on which the film is to be based.

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