China’s Alibaba buys stake in Spielberg firm

China’s Alibaba buys stake in Spielberg firm

BEIJING - Reuters
China’s Alibaba buys stake in Spielberg firm

AFP Photo

Chinese internet billionaire Jack Ma has bought a stake in cinema legend Steven Spielberg’s company, they said, the latest tie-up between China and Hollywood as they seek to make movies for audiences in the Middle Kingdom and beyond.
Alibaba Pictures, a unit of Ma’s sprawling e-commerce conglomerate, has taken a minority shareholding in Spielberg’s Amblin Partners, a film creation company that includes DreamWorks studios.

The deal will see the companies co-finance and co-produce movies for Chinese and international audiences, Alibaba said on its corporate website.  It marks “an important milestone” in the Chinese firm’s strategy to reach Chinese and global audiences, its chaiman Shao Xiafeng said in a statement.
Alibaba Pictures will also have a seat on the board of Amblin. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. At a press conference in Beijing on Octb , Spielberg - who shot his 1987 movie “Empire of the Sun” in Shanghai -  said the partnership will allow him to “bring more China to America and bring more America to China”, according to the Alibaba statement.

Alibaba chief Jack Ma said that while the US and China “may have cultural differences”, the partners will focus on human stories and serve as a bridge between the two countries. The deal will give Spielberg’s company access to Alibaba’s online ecosystem and films will be distributed through streaming platforms such as the group’s Youtube-like Youku Toudu.

The deal is the latest in a wave of Chinese money flowing to Hollywood, with real estate developer turned media conglomerate Wanda buying Jurassic World creator Legendary Entertainment for $3.5 billion earlier this year.