E-commerce billionaire Jack Ma, internet giant Tencent and China’s leading private film company Huayi Bros. are teaming up to develop, produce and finance English language films. Ma, who Alibaba e-tailer was at one point worth more than Wal-Mart, will invest in the joint venture through his Yunfeng Capital equity fund. The new company, which will be based in Hong Kong, issued a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange the trio have made a joint bid to buy a controlling stake in shell company China Jiuhao Health Industry Corp. The statement indicated the new company will produce 10 live-action films and invest just under $50 million in the projects. A further three animated features will also be produced by the company, with an initial investment from China Jiuhao of $24 million.
In November last year, Huayi Bros nked deals with Alibaba and Tencent that saw it raise $590 million (RMB3.6 billion) through a private placing of new shares. The strategic agreement with online giant Alibaba, covered e-commerce, online entertainment and movie development while the agreement with Tencent also covered movie development as well as online games and TV. Alibaba and Tencent each held more than 8% of Huayi Brothers moving forward as a result of that deal. In August this year, rivals Alibaba and Tencent put their competition aside to put their rivalry to one side to invest in China Media Capital’s smart-TV start-up Whaley Technology.
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