Deals

Alibaba takes control of ChinaVision, all the better to spar with Tencent

Image Credit: Andy Mitchell

Chinese Internet giant Alibaba is making a huge bet on online entertainment ahead of its hotly anticipated IPO.

The Hangzhou-based company is paying $805 million to buy a 60-percent stake in ChinaVision Media, a Hong Kong film and TV production company, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The deal with ChinaVision Media would be part of Alibaba’s plans to bring digital and traditional entertainment together.

The announcement comes a week after Alibaba rival Tencent, itself a media powerhouse, joined forces with the nation’s second-place online retailer, JD.com.

The competition between Alibaba and Tencent has been heating up during the past year.

With ownership of e-commerce sites Taobao and Tmall, Alibaba is generally considered to be China’s Amazon equivalent. It has been considering an IPO later this year, with a valuation surpassing $150 billion.

Tencent has been showing strong growth in the mobile market, with its mobile-messaging app WeChat taking over the Chinese social media market with more than 270 million registered users.

In response, Alibaba has been making significant efforts to tap deeper into China’s giant mobile market. Earlier this year, Alibaba announced it would start a new mobile gaming platform in an attempt to grab shares of the lucrative mobile entertainment market from Tencent.

It has also been working with China’s Twitter, Sina Weibo, by investing $586 million in 2013 in the social media service and integrating its payment service Alipay with Weibo, which itself is plotting an $8 billion IPO.

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