China’s e-commerce giant, Alibaba, is consolidating its key entertainment holdings under one new umbrella while also eyeing a complimentary fund of over 10B yuan ($1.5B) to invest in the digital media and entertainment industries. The newly-christened Alibaba Digital Media & Entertainment Group will include such businesses as Youku Tudou, UCWeb, Alibaba Pictures, Alibaba Music, Alibaba Gaming, Alibaba Literature and Alibaba Digital Entertainment.
The combined units will be overseen by UCWeb’s former CEO Yongfu Yu who will serve as chairman and CEO of the Alibaba Digital Media & Entertainment Group, reporting directly to Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang.
While investment targets were not identified, Alibaba has recently been increasing its profile in the film business with stakes in several Paramount titles and a minority equity position in Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners.
Victor Koo will serve as chairman of the Strategy and Investment Committee — with responsibility for the fund — and will focus on catalyzing growth of the overall entertainment industry at the helm of the new fund, a spokesperson for Alibaba tells Deadline. Koo is retiring from his post as Chairman and CEO of Youku Tudou, China’s answer to YouTube, which Alibaba acquired last year.
The $1.5B investment fund and the creation of the Digital Media & Entertainment Group form a significant milestone in Alibaba’s Double H (Health and Happiness) initiative which will “further enrich our overall ecosystem,” the spokesperson said.