Alibaba described the deal, whose financial terms were not disclosed, as part of its “big entertainment strategy.” It also said that taking 100% control of Damai, in which it has had a minority stake since 2014, “forms a strategic part of the value chain in our media and entertainment business.”
Founded in 2004, Damai operates across live events, sports and movies, and says it has sold tickets to 1.8 million events in 330 cities worldwide. It claims to have more than 100 million registered online users and nearly 50 physical distribution outlets in China.
“This continues an earnest three-year romance,” Alibaba said of the Damai deal on its social media platform.
Alibaba said there would be obvious synergies with Alibaba Music, Alibaba Pictures and video-streaming platform Youku Tudou. But it stopped short of saying whether it plans to integrate Damai with its other ticketing businesses, including Tao Piao Piao, which is part of the separately listed Alibaba Pictures Group.
In a bid to build market share at Tao Piao Piao, APG is currently spending heavily on marketing and services. These costs were largely responsible for the 2016 loss of $140 million that APG recently forecast.
“Damai.cn will be a powerful platform to distribute our media content as well as expand our user reach and engagement,” Alibaba said.