Steven Spielberg’s Amblin partners with Alibaba for China expansion
It was announced today that Amblin Partners and Alibaba Pictures Group have entered into a comprehensive strategic partnership to co-produce and finance films for global and Chinese audiences, as well as collaborate on the marketing, distribution and merchandising of Amblin Partners films in China.
Under the terms of the partnership, Alibaba Pictures will also acquire a minority equity stake in Amblin Partners and an Alibaba Pictures representative will join Amblin Partners’ board of directors.
SHAO Xiaofeng, Chairman of Alibaba Pictures, said, “We look forward to working with Amblin Partners, a company that shares our vision of powerful storytelling. 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.”
Steven Spielberg, Chairman of Amblin Partners, said, “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. Our vision is to inspire and entertain audiences through creativity and imagination both here and around the world. We would also like to thank Jack Ma for his friendship and support.”
Amblin Partners and Alibaba Pictures hosted a press conference in Beijing to announce the partnership, where Alibaba Group’s Executive Chairman, Jack Ma, attended as a special guest. Mr. Ma commented, “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. I believe this collaboration can serve as a cultural bridge and have a positive impact on the next generation of Chinese consumers.”
Alibaba Pictures joins Amblin Partners’ group of investors, and will be its first Chinese partner. Amblin Partners believes that Alibaba Pictures is the perfect company to align with given its deep, long-standing relationships in the Chinese media business and its ability to broaden Amblin Partners’ distribution reach.
Amblin Partners and Alibaba Pictures will leverage their combined resources, technology and talent to co-produce films that appeal to China and global audiences, and collaborate on other Amblin Partners projects around the world. This is expected to drive further growth in the film industry across China, delivering consumers immersive, innovative and culturally-rich entertainment and experiences. Alibaba Pictures will also have the option to co-finance Amblin Partners films worldwide.
Alibaba Pictures will be the marketing, distribution and merchandising partner for Amblin Partners films in China, leveraging its businesses spanning digital marketing, online ticketing, cinema services and operations and entertainment e-commerce. As a result of its relationship with Alibaba Group, Alibaba Pictures will also give Amblin Partners the opportunity to benefit from exposure to Alibaba Group’s vast ecosystem of 434 million active users and various platforms, including online streaming (Youku Tudou), over-the-top provider (Tmall set-top box) and leading e-commerce marketplaces (Taobao Marketplace and Tmall.com).