Technology executive and financier, Yu Yongfu is to take over as CEO of Alibaba Pictures Group, the film arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. He replaces Zhang Qiang, who remains a board level director and is re-designated as co-president.
The move completes a remarkably fast rise for 40-year-old Yu, who joined the Alibaba parent company in 2014 and first joined Alibaba Pictures as a non-executive in August this year.
Only last month Yu was named as chairman of APG, replacing Shao Xiaofeng who is stepped off the board.
The move appears to put the technocrats in charge at APG. Yu’s predecessor as CEO, Zhang is a movie industry veteran who spent years at China Film Group.
With double mandates as chairman and CEO, Yu has been given all the levers of power at the company. He is also executive director, chairman of the executive committee, chairman of the nomination committee and a member of the remuneration committee.
He was appointed a partner of Alibaba Group Holding in December last year, and has served as chairman and CEO of Alibaba Digital Media & Entertainment Group since Oct 31, 2016, and president of mobile Internet division of Alibaba Group since May 2015. His other tech roles with in Alibaba included president of UCWeb, Alibaba’s browser for smart phones, and president of mapping and location services company AutoNavi from March 2015.
Prior to joining Alibaba, Yu spent six years from 2001 to 2006 as a VP and associate with Legend Capital, the venture capital arm of computing giant Lenovo. Yu is also on the audit committee of NASDAQ-listed phone make Xunlei.
APG, which was formed from ChinaVision two years ago, is in the process of absorbing a raft of tech-based operations from Alibaba, most notably its online ticketing business.
In October, APG struck a massively high profile film deal when it announced a venture with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners.
Last month, APG unveiled what could be the genesis of a major film franchise, when it announced the hiring of “Harry Potter” producer David Heyman to deliver a movie from the “Warriors” series of young adult books that it had acquired.