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Alibaba to launch artist management operation

The company, a joint venture between Alibaba Pictures (Tao Piao Piao) and 'China's YouTube', Youku, will chiefly provide talent for the two companies' video output

By Jon Chapple on 14 Mar 2017

Yu Yongfu, Alibaba Pictures

Alibaba Pictures CEO Yu Yongfu

image © UCWeb Inc.

China’s Alibaba, the world’s largest retailer, is to launch an artist-management company as part of its ongoing investment into the global entertainment business.

A new Hong Kong Stock Exchange filing by Alibaba Pictures reveals it and fellow Alibaba brand Youku – a video-hosting site frequently dubbed ‘China’s YouTube’ – “propose to establish an artist-management to provide talents for both parties’ film and television and other relevant content production”.

Of particular interest to the live music industry is the “relevant content production” part, which could potentially tie in with Alibaba Pictures’ long-rumoured expansion into live entertainment.

It may also point to a move into managing the careers of young Youku vloggers, similar to Kilimanjaro’s Free Focus with YouTubers in the UK, although no further details are yet available.

Alibaba has committed to investing more than $7.2bn in entertainment over the next three years

The company’s ticketing operation,Tao Piao Piao – formerly Taobao Dianying (‘Tabao Movie’) – was rebranded last May with the launch of a strategic partnership with China’s leading live entertainment ticket agency, Damai.cn, through which Alibaba it is expected to move beyond film ticketing into live events.

The launch of the as-yet-unnamed management agency comes amid the signing of a wide-ranging strategic partnership between Alibaba Pictures and its controlling shareholder, the Alibaba Group proper, which establishes a “value-chain ecosystem for the cultural and entertainment industry, [in which both] parties will integrate their respective resources and jointly develop high-quality content projects on the basis of mutual benefit and reciprocity”.

Alibaba has committed to investing more than US$7.2 billion in entertainment over the next three years, although it has yet to provide specifics on investments.


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