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Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners Inks Strategic Pact With Alibaba Pictures

Alibaba Pictures Group, the movies arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, is to acquire an unspecified minority stake in Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners.

The move was announced as part of a strategic partnership to co-produce and finance films for global and Chinese audiences.

The two will also collaborate on the marketing, distribution and merchandising of Amblin Partners films in China. Alibaba Pictures will have the option to co-finance Amblin Partners films worldwide.

“We are proud and excited that such a valued company as Alibaba Pictures is joining with our other highly-respected partners, Reliance Entertainment, Participant Media and Entertainment One, in building our growth and strengthening our company even further,” said Spielberg in a statement.

“This partnership is the first of its kind for both Amblin Partners and Alibaba Pictures and marks an important milestone in our globalization strategy to reach Chinese and global audiences alike. We will also leverage Alibaba Group’s ecosystem as a channel for Amblin Partners’ films to reach hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers,” said Shao Xiaofeng, chairman of Alibaba Pictures.

“We have great respect for Mr. Spielberg as one of the world’s most influential filmmakers and entrepreneurs. Among Chinese consumers, there is an increasing demand for premium global content,” said Alibaba group’s executive chairman Jack Ma. “This collaboration can serve as a cultural bridge and have a positive impact on the next generation of Chinese consumers.”

Alibaba Pictures sees itself as a technology-driven, diversified film group that ranges from production investment through to distribution and ticketing.

Hollywood films imported under the revenue sharing quota system are currently only distributed by state-owned enterprises China Film Group or Huaxia Distribution. But as the marketing, distribution and merchandising partner, it can offer Amblin titles support ranging from digital marketing, online ticketing, cinema services and to e-commerce. Its related businesses include online streaming (Youku Tudou), over-the-top access (Tmall set-top box) and e-commerce marketplaces (Taobao Marketplace and Tmall.com.)

Its Hollywood investments to date include as “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,” “Star Trek Beyond” and “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.” In Asia APG is involved with the production of movies such as “Ferry Man,” “Three Lives Three Worlds Ten Miles of Peach Blossom,” “Ao Jiao Yu Pian Jian,” and Korea’s “Real.”

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