Two of China’s largest online movie ticket companies are to merge.
Gewara and Beijing Weiying Technology (aka Wepiao) are currently among the top five players in the increasingly important online ticket sales business. The merged company will likely end up as a close second to market leader Maoyan, although both brands will remain in operation.
Online ticketing has grown at great speed in the past two years and now account for 70% of ticket sales.
Weiying was founded by Tencent in 2014 and raised new finance last month in a funding round that included Wanda and Beijing Wenzi Huaxia. Gewara is older and more specialized, and had come under competitive pressure from the newcomers into sector.
Maoyan is backed by Tencent and Meituan, an Internet holding group that is also in the process of merging with Dianping, another competitor.
Baidu (Nuomi), Huayi and Alibaba (Taobao Movie) also have companies in the sector and Alibaba Pictures is in the process of acquiring another one Guangdong Yueke Software Engineering, while also seeing ticketing businesses transferred from its Alibaba parent company.
Different market researchers rate the companies differently. Credit Suisse recently ranked Maoyan first with 34%, ahead of Gewara (22%) and Wepiao (8%), Mtime and Wanda. Internet researcher BigData ranked Maoyan first, ahead of Nuomi, Wepiao and Taobao, respectively.
China’s theatrical box office was worth $6.3 billion (RMB40 billion) in the first 11 months of the year.