China's Alibaba, Shanghai Media Group in $194 Million News Pact

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Alibaba will invest in SMG's financial media company China Business News.

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has entered the financial news and data market with the signing of a strategic agreement with Shanghai Media Group to invest $193.6 million in SMG's China Business News unit.

"The era of data technology (DT) is here and it will surpass the information technology era. The DT era is about transparency, sharing of information and enabling others," said Alibaba founder and executive chairman Jack Ma in a statement. Alibaba is excited about the possibilities of the DT era and how it can bring value to society."

The announcement comes on the same day as Alibaba's film unit, Alibaba Pictures, said it would seek to raise $1.6 billion by selling 4.2 billion new shares in Hong Kong to help finance future media-related acquisitions.

The aim of the CBN investment is to leverage both companies’ Internet technology and media resources to penetrate China’s financial information services industry, Alibaba said.

CBN operates a number of media assets, such as television, radio, newspaper, magazine and news agencies.

Market news and financial data in China is currently dominated by Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg, as well as Xinhua Finance, a domestic service run by the state news agency Xinhua.

The investment in CBN will create a financial data and information services company that will help Chinese small and medium enterprises tap financial data.

Alibaba said that by utilizing its big data and cloud computing capabilities, both companies would jointly develop a comprehensive financial data and information platform that will provide users with timely financial news and information in order to enhance their investment and financial decision-making capabilities.

"The aim of this platform is to raise the bar on enterprise efficiency in China by leveling the information playing field. By giving a greater number of Chinese enterprises access to precious financial data that can be easily mined and analyzed for actionable investment and business decisions, this platform is expected to help these enterprises scale and expand their businesses," it said.

Currently, Alibaba's Alipay unit and CBN are collaborating to provide users with stock quote information and CBN’s wealth management information product will also soon launch on Mobile Taobao.

Alibaba said that it and SMG would also work toward enhancing digital and traditional media convergence in the industry through the launch of innovative new media products.

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