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Alibaba ent. investment continues with new booking agency

Alibaba Pictures will soon have a talent agency and "variety show" production company to complement its artist management and ticketing businesses, new filings reveal

By Jon Chapple on 09 Aug 2017

Yu Yongfu, Alibaba Pictures Group

Alibaba Pictures CEO Yu Yongfu

image © Alibaba Pictures Group

Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba today announced the launch of a new talent agency, as it continues to invest in the global entertainment business.

Alibaba – which, with a market value of over US$475 billion, is believed to be the world’s largest retailer – also plans to form a “variety show production and distribution” company, according to a new filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Both companies, simply described as the “Variety Show JV” and the “Talent Agency JV”, are joint ventures between Alibaba Pictures and 1 Verge Information, both Alibaba subsidiaries.

The launch of the new businesses follows the announcement of an artist management company – also a JV between Alibaba Pictures and 1 Verge, which owns ‘China’s YouTube’, Youku – in March.

Alibaba to launch artist management operation

While the term “variety show” brings to mind live entertainment, the filing says the Variety Show JV will produce broadcasts which “provide information, reviews and commentaries about movies and drama series, with plenty of amusement”.

Equally, it seems likely the new booking agency will focus on film, although it is more generally described as being for “nurturing and managing entertainment talents”.

Alibaba has committed to investing more than $7.2bn in entertainment over the next three years, with part of that investment believed to be in the live industry. It last month acquired China’s leading music, sports and theatrical ticket agency,, following an earlier partnership that coincided with the rebranding of its own in-house ticketing platform, Tao Piao Piao.


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