It’s not often that Alibaba CEO Jack Ma teams up with market-rival Tencent, but if anything can bring the two together as of late it’s a mutual investment in the entertainment industry.
Tencent Holding Ltd., Yunfeng Capital and Huayi Brothers Media Corp. have joined forces to buy a controlling stake in a Hong Kong shell company that previously traded as a retirement-home developer, the companies revealed on Thursday.
Mr. Ma owns a 40% stake in Yunfeng Capital, while both Alibaba and Tencent are investors in Huayi. The new company, called China Jiuhao Health Industry Corp., will use the shares to form a media content business.
The company will kick off operations with three animated features and 10 live-action films. The new content will be produced in partnership with currently unnamed U.S. production houses. Alibaba has previously teamed up with Paramount pictures to bring U.S films to mainland China. Huayi announced in March that it was investing in a slate of at least 18 films with Robert Simonds’ STX Entertainment.
Mr. Ma and Alibaba have been aggressively expanding a media empire throughout 2015, which now includes Alibaba Pictures Group and the total acquisition of streaming service Youku Tudou’s remaining shares. Just last week the company also announced they would be acquiring the media business of South China Morning Post Group.
The latest alliance between Tencent and Alibaba camps indicates that the two companies are able to put aside their tense market rivalry foster joint projects into 2016. The Chinese ride-hailing market was rocked in February 2015 when the two companies combined their services to create Didi-Kuaidi, which holds a strong market monopoly. Tencent and Alibaba have also shared investment in the $15 billion USD Dianping-Meituan merger.