HONG KONG — Alibaba Pictures Group, the newly-formed film-making division of China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba, confirmed Zhang Qiang as its new chief executive.

Zhang, whose appointment was unofficially announced by the media last month, makes the unusual switch from public sector to private. Since 2011 has been vice president of China Film Group, the state-owned enterprise that dominates film imports and distribution and which is also a major Chinese film producer and exhibitor.

He was previously Deputy General Editor of Beijng Television and the chairman of Beijng Forbiden City Film Co.

Through CFG, Zhang gained production credits on “American Dreams in China” and “So Young.” His academic qualifications include a bachelor degree in Chinese Literature from Peking University and a master degree in Film Aesthetics from Beijing Film Academy.

His appointment — on a one year renewable contract — means that Liu Chunning is relieved of his role as acting CEO.

The company, which has a Hong Kong share-listing that it took over from ChinaVision, now sees Zhang, Liu and Shao Xiaofeng, as executive directors, and Li Lianjie, Tong Xiaomeng and Zhang Yu as non executives.

Alibaba, which is heading for an IPO in New York later this year which could be as big as $150 billion, has made a succession of acquisitions and stake purchases in recent months that propel its importance to the Chinese film industry.