Alibaba eyes China-Hollywood deals after Green Book’s Oscar win

Mahershala Ali accepts the Best Supporting Actor award for his role in "Green Book." REUTERS/Mike Blake

After becoming the first Chinese internet company to back a best picture Oscar winner, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is eyeing more Hollywood movies. The company also expects that more U.S. goods and services will be imported into China, and that the U.S. trade deficit with China will narrow.

Joe Tsai, Alibaba’s executive vice chairman, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV that he was cautiously optimistic that a trade deal between the two countries will be reached. He also said that Chinese domestic consumption has become a bigger part of China’s economy, driving imports.

“China is going to be more open for imports, not just in goods, but also in services, including content,” Tsai said.

Those imports include movies. Hollywood studios have been hoping for an increase in the number of American films allowed into China, which is expected to soon overtake the U.S. as the world’s biggest box office market, and to increase its share of global ticket revenue.

Sunday’s Oscar winner, “Green Book,” is an example of the quality of the productions the e-commerce giant wants to be involved with, Tsai said. Alibaba has invested for several years in individual films like installments of the “Mission: Impossible” franchise. Other Chinese companies such as Perfect World Co. have backed portfolios of films.

“Green Book,” which faced criticism over the accuracy of its handling of real-world events, will open in China on March 1 with tickets for sale on Alibaba’s platforms. “We see the opportunity to bring high-quality content into China,” Tsai said.

Alibaba is a co-financier of “Green Book.” The film was distributed in the U.S. by Universal Pictures.

Bloomberg

Singapore Reporter/s

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.