China's Tencent, Huayi Bros. Pact With Jack Ma to Produce Hollywood Films

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Ma's Yunfeng Capital will pool assets with Tencent and Huayi to create a Hong Kong-based company to produce films for local and international markets.

Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings, movie studio Huayi Bros. and Yunfeng Capital, a private equity company owned by Alibaba CEO Jack Ma, will pool resources and create a new Hong Kong-based film production company that will make content for the local and international markets, the companies announced on Friday.

In a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange the companies said they had made a joint bid to buy a controlling stake in China Jiuhao Health Industry Corp., a listed shell company. A source familiar with the deal told THR that Yunfeng, Tencent and Huayi intended to turn China Jiuhao into a "global online to offline media and entertainment business."

According to a statement released by the companies, China Jiuhao will produce 10 live-action films with an unnamed U.S. film producer and invest an aggregate amount of $47 million for the projects. China Jiuhao will also produce three animated films with an unnamed animation production house and has agreed to invest $24 million in those projects initially. 

Though Ma, through his leadership of Alibaba, Huayi and Tencent have struck several cooperative deals on entertainment content in recent times, sources indicated to THR that Tencent and Huayi were the key players in the deal, with Ma's Yunfeng playing a smaller role.

China Jiuhao was chosen as the shell company as it already had some existing investments in the production of TV shows and movies and cable TV channels in Hainan province.