Alibaba Pictures Launches $300M Investment Fund

  • Alibaba Pictures will partner with Wuhu Gopher Asset Management on a new $300 million film and TV fund
  • Alibaba will contribute a maximum of $75 million
  • New investment comes in the face of mounting Alibaba Pictures losses, expected to be RMB 400-450 million for the first half of 2016.

Alibaba Pictures will contribute $75 million to a new $300 million film and TV investment fund.

Alibaba Pictures Monday announced it has established a RMB 2 billion ($300 million) fund to invest in film and TV companies.

The film studio unit of Jack Ma’s e-commerce giant Alibaba Group is partnering with Wuhu Gopher Asset Management on the fund. Alibaba Pictures will contribute a maximum of $75 million, with $225 million coming from Wuhu Gopher.

The partners said the Hainan Alibaba Pictures Entertainment Industry Investment Fund will “invest in companies along the value chain of the movie and television entertainment industry, creating synergies with Alibaba Pictures’ own capital,” the companies said in a statement Monday.

Wuhu Gopher has previously invested in film projects with Bona Film Group on a RMB 1 billion fund in 2013, according to TechNode.

“The fund will focus on investment opportunities of high-quality companies in the movie and television entertainment industry chain, under the four key pillars of production development, celebrity resources, marketing and distribution, and advanced technology,” the statement said.

“In recent years, the Chinese entertainment industry, which has mainly been driven by movies, has undergone rapid development,” said Alibaba Pictures CEO Zhang Qiang.

“Bountiful investment opportunities and immense room for integration have emerged both upstream and downstream of the industry value chain.”

The film studio has previously invested in several high-profile Hollywood projects, including Star Trek Beyond and Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation.

Other movies the studio has invested in include Ferry Man (摆渡人), Three Lives Three Worlds Ten Miles of Peach Blossom (三生三世十里桃花), and Ao Jiao Yu Pian Jian (傲娇与偏见).

The announcement comes just days after the company warned  that its half-year losses will increase, mainly due to increased marketing costs at its online cinema ticketing business Tao Piao Piao.

The company said its first-half loss is likely to be in the range of RMB 400 million yuan to RMB 450 million ($59.8 million to 67.3 million), compared with a loss of RMB 151 million a year ago.

Shares in the company fell for the third straight day on Monday, as investors reacted to the poor earnings forecast.