TaoBao Dianying, the ticketing subsidiary of Alibaba Pictures, has raised a 1.7 billion yuan ($260 million USD) A series, valuing the company at over 13.7 billion yuan ($2.09 billion USD).
According to a filing made by Hong Kong-listed Alibaba Pictures on Sunday, the CDH Investments led the round, followed by Alibaba finance affiliate Ant Financial and Chinese web portal Sina.com.
[Update: As of May 16 TaoBao Dianying has been renamed Taobao Piaopiao, and has partnered with one of China’s largest ticketing platforms, Damai.cn, according to Alibaba.]
Alibaba has been shoring up resources across the entire film production and distribution chain, capitalizing on China’s growing appetite for blockbuster movies. Last week Alibaba Pictures announced their first ever investment in physical cinemas, purchasing a 4.76 percent stake in Dadi Cinemas for 1 billion yuan ($150 million USD).
In June last year Alibaba Pictures sold $1.57 billion USD in shares to fund their expansion into new media projects.
Ticketing service Taobao Dianying is an off-shoot of Alibaba’s other on-demand services, and one of the company’s core strengths in sealing international distribution deals with U.S. production houses. Alibaba previously marketed Paramount’s Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation through Taobao Dianying, a relationship that will extend to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Star Trek franchises in the future.
According to Alibaba Pictures, most investors participating in Taobao Dianying’s latest round “possess not only investment capital but also industry and strategic resources which are highly valued by the Group.” Other participants in the round include Chinese film houses BONA Film, Hehe Pictures and Huace Media.