China's Alibaba Pictures Launches $300M Investment Fund

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Jack Ma's fledgling film studio has invested in several high-profile Hollywood projects, including 'Star Trek Beyond' and 'Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation.'

Alibaba Pictures Group has unveiled a new $300 million investment fund targeting the entertainment industry.

Alibaba Pictures, the film studio unit of Jack Ma's e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, is partnering with Wuhu Gopher Asset Management on the fund, which will be called the Hainan Alibaba Pictures Entertainment Industry Investment Fund.

In a statement released Monday, the two partners said they would make "investments in companies along the value chain of the movie and television entertainment industry, creating synergies with Alibaba Pictures’ own capital."

Alibaba Pictures will contribute a maximum of $75 million to the fund, with the remaining $225 million coming from Wuhu Gopher. The partners said the fund will focus on investment opportunities in high-quality film and TV companies falling under four key categories: "production development, celebrity resources, marketing and distribution and advanced technology." The partners did not specify whether the fund would exclusively target Chinese investments, or if international films and firms might be on its hit list. 

“In recent years, the Chinese entertainment industry, which has mainly been driven by movies, has undergone rapid development," said Zhang Qiang, CEO of Alibaba Pictures. "Bountiful investment opportunities and immense room for integration have emerged both upstream and downstream of the industry value chain.” 

Alibaba Pictures, which is listed on both the Singapore and Hong Kong stock exchanges, describes its core business segments as content production, Internet-based promotion and distribution, entertainment e-commerce and international operations. The studio has yet to release a film of its own, but it has three Chinese projects in varying stages of production: Ferry Man, Three Lives Three Worlds Ten Miles of Peach Blossom and Ao Jiao Yu Pian Jian.

It has also invested in high-profile Hollywood projects, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Star Trek Beyond and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. Alibaba Pictures is also moving into U.S.-China co-productions with a partnership with Skydance Media to finance and co-produce the WWII film Flying Tigers, which will be scripted by Braveheart writer Randall Wallace.

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