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Business

Alibaba Pictures is the company to watch in Chinese entertainment

Strategy uses collision of entertainment, technology to disrupt the market

| China
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Steven Spielberg, left, and his Amblin Partners production company are among the many content partners working with Alibaba Pictures, part of the sprawling business empire of Chinese tycoon Jack Ma, right.   © Reuters

Two years into Alibaba Group Holding's push into entertainment, its movie arm has a growing pipeline of produced and acquired content. Alibaba Pictures is regularly doing domestic and Hollywood deals for film production, financing and distribution. And it is making unconventional moves in cinema software, online videos, ticketing apps and film crowdfunding.

Putting it together, the game plan for Alibaba Pictures is becoming clear and it is impressive, despite the company's recent warning that it may post a net loss of up to 1 billion yuan ($144 million) for 2016. Not only is the company laying the groundwork to be a major player in traditional entertainment, it is also using the collision of entertainment and technology to fundamentally disrupt its industry. It is creating a unique and powerful direct connection between production and Chinese consumers. The company is putting in motion a faster and far more sweeping version of what Netflix and Amazon.com have been doing to Hollywood.

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