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Chinese online retail giant Alibaba, which has just filed for a $1 billion initial public offering in New York, plans to sign big-name directors such as Wong Kar Wai, Peter Chan and Stephen Chow to its new film unit, local media in China report.
Several Chinese news outlets, citing company sources, said that Alibaba will use the new film group to launch movie channels on its Taobao and Tiaomao e-commerce services.
“The priority is to sign directors such as Chan, Chow and Wong to Alibaba Pictures Group,” the report said.
Alibaba, in which Yahoo! has a 22.6 percent stake, has been on a $6.2 billion buying spree in the media sector of late, with entertainment elements — in March, it bought a controlling stake in ChinaVision for $804 million, giving Alibaba access to TV and movie content.
The directors of Alibaba Pictures Group, which has been registered in Hong Kong, were listed as Dong Ping, chairman of ChinaVision, and Zhao Chao, also an executive director of ChinaVision.
The focus on entertainment is aimed at enhancing the company for the IPO, and Alibaba will aim to put all its film and video business into the company before possibly spinning it off into a separate company, the report said.
The world’s biggest e-commerce firm’s IPO could be the biggest in history, and the company will trade either on the New York Stock Exchange or the NASDAQ.