Alibaba to Invest $16 Million in Jackie Chan's Upcoming Film Projects

Jackie Chan
Sandy Huffaker/Invision for XX/AP Images

Jackie Chan poses at The Hollywood Reporter's video lounge. The actor was in San Diego promoting his new film, Chinese Zodiac, which he also directed.

The Chinese e-commerce giant's crowdfunding unit Yulebao is raising the cash to invest in Chan's production company.

Yulebao, the crowdfunding unit of China's largest e-commerce company Alibaba, will invest $16 million in Jackie Chan's Yaolai film and TV company over the next three years.

Liu Chunning, head of Alibaba's digital entertainment group, said Alibaba wanted to build a fan platform on Yulebao -- which translates as ‘Entertainment Treasure’ -- to boost interaction with the audience.

"Alibaba Yulebao will cooperate with Jackie Chan to continue to make Chinese films," said Liu.

Chan said he was good friends with Alibaba founder and executive chairman Jack Ma and the relationship would help the collaboration.

"We both have our business. I focus on making good films and Alibaba Yulebao has promoted fund-raising for new films. I hope we can both get success and promote Chinese films to the world together," said Chan.

Alibaba is one of the producers on Chan’s latest project, the historical epic Dragon Blade, which features John Cusack and Adrien Brody as Roman soldiers lost in ancient times.

When Yulebao launched last year, it broke records for investment as hundreds of thousands of investors poured money into the fund, and the same thing happened with the service's pitch for investment in Dragon Blade – within 2.5 days, investors put $4.8 million into the project.

Investors in China are always on the lookout for new vehicles. The stock market is tightly controlled, and the real estate market has become expensive for most, plus ordinary Chinese are generally not allowed to invest overseas.

Each individual investor is allowed to buy a maximum of two plans from the available list of projects and investors have been offered an interest rate of seven percent on their investment.

Alibaba has been careful to distinguish Yulebao from a traditional crowd-sourcing scheme, which is illegal in China and sometimes seen by authorities as a form of pyramid scheme.

Twitter: @cliffordcoonan