Alibaba Pictures, a subsidiary of Chinese online retail behemoth Alibaba, has announced the acquisition of a movie ticketing software firm for 830 million yuan ($134 million). Alibaba Pictures purchased Yueke Software Engineering through an open bidding on April 20th. Yueke was previously owned by state-run Yueke Technology Financial Group.
Yueke works with over 1,000 theater
According to its website, Yueke works with more than 1,000 theaters across China. It offers multiple services such as ticket management software for staffed booths and automatic vending machines, enterprise software that helps theaters run operations, white label mobile apps, and digital signage. It has partnerships with Alipay, WeChat, Tmall, Weibo, Douban, and group-buying site Meituan.
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Yueke is one of the only six companies that China has approved to provide online ticketing systems, reports Yue Wang of Forbes. The firm generated $8.4 million revenue and $1.8 million in profit last year. State-owned Guangdong Technology Venture has the option to acquire 20-30% stake in Yueke within nine months of its acquisition by Alibaba Pictures.
Hong Kong-listed shares of Alibaba Pictures rallied 14% after the announcement. Alibaba said the purchase of Yueke Software will create more opportunities for e-commerce and movie industry operators to cooperate. It will also allow movie theaters to generate a variety of revenue streams. Hangzhou-based Alibaba has been expanding its entertainment offerings in recent months.
Alibaba Pictures emerging as a media juggernaut
Earlier this month, the e-commerce giant proposed to inject its online movie ticketing platform and film production business into Alibaba Pictures. The asset injection will let Alibaba Pictures control the whole chain from production to financing to the distribution of movies. Earlier this year, Alibaba Pictures said it would produce its first movie, to be directed by Wong Kar-Wai.
Alibaba Pictures was created when the Chinese e-commerce titan acquired 60% stake in ChinaVision Media and changed its name. While the parent company has seen its stock decline 22% year-to-date, shares of Alibaba Pictures have rallied 203.6% this year.