Alibaba has a great opportunity to create a huge Chinese streaming giant as the country has largely shut down all major U.S. online video services. Also Beijing is spending heavily to grow broadband penetration. Though there are still a few deep-pocketed rivals, Alibaba is a strong contender since it has the required assets and spending commitments, notes The Street.
Alibaba owns many strategic assets
Alibaba is creating a new business unit, which it announced on Monday. This new unit features the online video leader Youku Tudou (acquired for $3.5 billion earlier this year), the UCWeb mobile web browser unit and Alibaba Pictures, apart from the company’s gaming, music and literature businesses. The former head of Alibaba’s mobile unit, Yu Yongfu, will head the business.
Alibaba is also launching a new $1.54 billion entertainment fund to finance new projects. This fund follows a deal in October with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners. The deal gives the Chinese firm a stake in Amblin, and in return, it agreed to co-produce movies for a global audience.
In 2015, the Chinese firm revealed its Netflix-like video service called Tmall Box Office. Prior to this, it acquired a 60% stake in ChinaVision Media (later converted into Alibaba Pictures). The company also has a stake in studio Beijing Enlight Media, a financial newspaper, and TV network owner China Business News.
All these assets together with Youku Tudou, UCWeb and of course Alibaba’s e-commerce empire position the company well to “create, distribute and promote video services that feature a mixture of licensed and original content,” says The Street.
Kobe Bryant, Katy Perry roped in for the big shopping event
On Tuesday, the Chinese firm informed investors and shoppers that it is holding a gala on November 10. Its “global ambassador” Katy Perry will be joined by former Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant and the band OneRepublic. The gala is scheduled the night before Singles’ Day, a sort of Valentines Day kind of event in which people buy gifts for themselves.
Alibaba refers to the shopping event as its Global Shopping Festival, and the name has gained huge popularity. This year’s event will be the second time when the company will put on a gala for the promotion of the e-commerce event. Last month, Alibaba said that Katy Perry would perform at the gala, and on Tuesday, it added Bryant and OneRepublic to the roster. We will also get to see 2 Broke Girls actress Beth Behrs at the gala. The show is hugely popular in China. There will be more celebrity guests announced before the event as well, the company said.