Film

Alibaba Pictures buys into Hehe Pictures

It was confirmed this week that Alibaba Pictures will make a strategic investment in Hehe Pictures. After the conclusion of the investment, Alibaba Pictures will hold a 30% stake in Hehe Pictures, becoming the latter’s second-largest shareholder.

According to the joint announcement made this week, two representatives of Alibaba Pictures will join Hehe Pictures’ board of directors. Meanwhile, both parties will form a strategic partnership to cooperate extensively in their current film production projects, as well as in film promotion and distribution.

Hehe Pictures is rather new, relatively speaking, having been founded in 2013. As of October this year, Hehe Pictures has invested in and managed film projects that have raked in nearly RMB 4.8 billion at the box office, which include The Mermaid, Chongqing Hot Pot, Skiptrace and Cock and Bull. The Mermaid (image above) grossed RMB $3.39 billion to become the highest-grossing Chinese film ever.

Hehe Pictures invests in quality movies through trust funds under its innovative financing model. With more than 20 movies under the announced “Hehe Dynamic Movie List” plan, the company plans to step up its investment in content production in the future. Hehe Pictures also enjoys strong working relationships with top directors such as Steven CHOW, JIANG Wen, WONG Kar-Wei and CAO Baoping in film investment, promotion and distribution.

Alibaba Pictures made its strategic investment in Hehe Pictures in May this year, when the latter participated in the Series A financing of Alibaba Pictures’ online movie ticketing platform Tao Piaopiao, along with other investors such as CDH Investments, Ant Financial Services Group, Sina.com, Bona Film, Huace Media, Nanpai Entertainment and Union Pictures.

Since the start of the year, Alibaba Pictures has seen its entertainment platform evolve into a scalable format, with its core businesses showing increasing growth momentum. The platform straddles the entire industry value chain, driven by its innovative online promotion and distribution system. Alibaba Pictures’ investment in Hehe Pictures will strengthen synergies between both parties. Alibaba Pictures’ online promotion and distribution business is enjoying steadily growing clout in the industry while Tao Piaopiao’s has become the second-largest player in the online ticketing market – with a market share which is still growing. As Alibaba Picture and Hehe Pictures have online and offline resources which are highly complementary to each other, both companies will see their development spurred by their strategic partnership.

ZHANG Qiang, Chief Executive Officer of Alibaba Pictures said, “We look forward to stepping up our fruitful partnership in terms of film production, promotion and distribution. By creating a healthy ecosystem for financing in the film industry, we hope to support more filmmakers and boost the development of the industry.”

YANG Wei, Chairwoman and General Manager of Hehe Pictures talked about the partnership stating, “We will strive to find the right direction for development and try to avoid mistakes as Hehe Pictures is still in its infancy. At the same time, we will focus on quality investments in content while putting in serious effort to establish ourselves as an industry model, in applying financial tools to provide rigorous and standardized integrated management services for film and TV projects.”