China’s Youku Tudou Launches Heyi Film Production Arm

Online video giant completes upstream move with movie development and investment unit

Victor Koo Youku Tudou
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

HONG KONG — Chinese online video giant Youku Tudou has launched a movie production and investment company Heyi Film.

Heyi will be run by Allen Zhu and CEO with Youku Tudou’s founder Victor Koo as its chairman. Lee Yong Kwan-director of the Busan International Film Festival will serve on its board as an independent director.

The company says its strategy is to leverage the data on audience preferences that it harnesses from its 500 million multi-screen users to produce films to the tastes of the Chinese audiences, and improve film marketing and distribution. Although the Chinese film business is currently dominated by theatrical receipts Heyi will produce films that have appeal in online and offline markets.

In practice this is expected to mean that Heyi incubates intellectual properties and helps scale up content from micro-movies to theatrical features. It will also work to discover and grow film talents. And it will connect with consumers to grow fan communities that can support films and new consumer monetization model.

Its initial slate includes “The Master,” produced by Beijing Century Partner Culture & Media: “Bad Sister,” directed by Kim Tae-gyun with Ivy Chen as lead actress; and “Paris Holiday,” produced by Hong Kong’s Universe Entertainment with Louis Koo and Amber Kuo in the lead roles.

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Heyi said that as examples of expanding its micro-movies, it plans to make features from five of its current properties including Surprise, Yes Boss!, and Miss Puff.
“Youku Tudou has helped transform how media and entertainment related content is distributed and marketed since our inception. Going forward, we will continue to change how content is created and monetized by directly connecting with the ever-growing consumer economy,” said Koo.

Youku Tudou is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and currently has a market capitalization exceeding $3.2 billion.