On Thursday, Alibaba Group is set to unveil plans to invest $200 million in China Business News to jointly develop a financial data service. The Hangzhou-based e-commerce company’s proposed move comes close on the heels of its recent announcement to roll out a new data service for local governments across China to search all kinds of e-commerce-related statistics.
Alibaba plans to leverage its database of e-commerce statistics
Citing people familiar with the developments, The Wall Street Journal reports that Alibaba is set to announce its plans to invest about $200 million for a 30% stake in China Business News, a financial TV and newspaper company that is part of Shanghai Media Group. The companies plan to jointly develop a financial data service that can leverage Alibaba’s database of e-commerce statistics, such as sales trends. Alibaba also has plans to develop a new media incubator with China Business News for media startups.
Chief Executive of China Business News Qin Shuo will leave the company after the deal to focus on new media and research, while Zhou Jiangong, editor-in-chief of Forbes’ Chinese edition and a former senior editor at the China Business newspaper, will succeed him.
Reposing confidence in the anticipated investment, Guangdong Guangzhou Daily Media Co, which owns a small stake in China Business News, surged by 10%, its daily trading limit, on Wednesday afternoon in Shenzhen trade.
Alibaba plans to turn shoppers into investors
In the past year, China’s biggest e-commerce company has made a flurry of investments in media and entertainment. As reported by ValueWalk, last March, Alibaba acquired an 8.8% stake in Enlight Media, a leading film and TV company in China. The e-commerce giant acquired its stake through a private placement deal. Last January, the company took a majority stake in AdChina, a digital marketing platform based in Shanghai, to enhance its footprint in the digital advertising space.
Last year, Alibaba established Alibaba Pictures in Hong Kong after acquiring a majority stake in China Vision Media Group Ltd. And in April, Alibaba Pictures unveiled the acquisition of a movie ticketing software firm for 830 million yuan (US$134 million).
In yet another foray into show business, Alibaba has invested 2.4 billion yuan (US$387 million) in TV program producer Beijing Enlight Media. In the strategic cooperation framework agreement signed between the e-commerce titan and Enlight on May 28, Alibaba pledged to work with Enlight to create a new business model for film-making, combining traditional media, the internet and financial operations. In November, Alibaba and Shanghai Media Group also announced their intent to work together on financial services and business news.
Alibaba aims to turn its shoppers into investors. It has started providing stock quotes and charts on the Alipay app, a PayPal-like online payment system service, and plans to put financial news and information there.
Alibaba’s financial services arm Ant Financial announced in April plans to launch China’s first e-commerce-based stock index, taking Alibaba one step closer to leveraging its vast proprietary data to realize its financial services aspirations. The CSI Taojin Big Data 100 Index will track shares based on e-commerce metrics.