Alibaba Buys 30 Percent Stake in Hehe Pictures

The Hangzhou-based company continues to take stakes in nearby film and TV production companies. 


Alibaba Pictures Group will acquire a 30 percent strategic stake in Chinese film investment company Hehe Pictures, becoming its second-largest shareholder, the company announced Monday. Two representatives of the company will also join Hehe Pictures’ board of directors.

“Hehe Pictures has made innovative progress in movie investment and distribution,” said Zhang Qiang, chief executive officer of Alibaba Pictures. “We hope to explore partnerships in movie production and distribution to help form a healthy film financial ecosystem in China.”

Hehe Pictures Chairwoman and General Manager Yang Wei is the largest shareholder in the company followed, by a number of Chinese stars including actor Chen Kun, singer Yang Kun and director Cao Baoping.

The company invested in and managed major film projects including The Mermaid (美人鱼) which is the highest-grossing Chinese film ever, as well as Chongqing Hot Pot (火锅英雄), Skiptrace (绝地逃亡) and Cock and Bull (追凶者也).

It’s not the first time the two companies have cooperated. In May, Hehe Pictures joined a slew of other companies in the Series A financing of Alibaba Pictures’ online movie ticketing platform Tao Piaopiao. They also worked together on producing The Ferryman (摆渡人).

Alibaba Pictures Group has been particularly acquisitive of late with this latest deal coming on the heels of another in October when the company announced it would acquire a minority stake in Amblin Partners, which is chaired by Steven Spielberg.

Alibaba Pictures Group, which is the movies division of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, also announced plans to invest RMB 1 billion (US$154 million) in convertible bonds issued by Chinese exhibitor Guangdong Dadi Cinema in May.

In July, the company announced it was partnering with Wuhu Gopher Asset Management on a new $300 million film and TV fund. In August, the company said it was buying an 80 percent stake in Hangzhou-based cinema company Hangzhou Xingji.