Alibaba CEO Jack Ma says the Chinese e-commerce giant has made more money in 90 days than Amazon has in 20 years. But Alibaba's users don't just come to shop. They want to watch things, too, which is why Ma is scouring Hollywood this week for acquisitions and potential partners.
“I come here to learn. I want to come here looking for partners,” he said at the Wall Street Journal's WSJDLive conference in Laguna Beach, California. “We worry about people with deep pockets but shallow minds, so movies are the best way to change Chinese young people’s behavior.”
It's rumored he wants the Lionsgate share owned Mark Rachesky , its chairman and largest shareholder -- 37 percent, worth $1.6 billion -- when Rachesky exits in November, the New York Post reported, according to anonymous sources. Alibaba wants U.S. film and TV shows it can import into the world's second largest film market.
A delegation of senior executives headed by Ma is in Hollywood this week, hoping to scoop up distribution rights to TV shows and movies, along with acquiring actual shares in studios, Tech Times reported. Ma and others reportedly planned to meet with major studios including Walt Disney, Viacom, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., Comcast, Sony and, of course, Lionsgate Entertainment. Alibaba is setting its sights on content it can sell to consumers in China through set-top boxes.
Although Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer hasn't talked about the possible sale of his company to Alibaba, he did discuss their deal in July to stream Lionsgate content such as "Mad Men" and the "Twilight" films.
"We're going to be cautious, find the right partner," Feltheimer said Tuesday in Hong Kong at the cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia's annual convention, the Post reported. "In the coming months we'll launch our Lionsgate Entertainment World streaming service with Alibaba, presenting movies, premium TV series, exclusive footage, behind the scenes interviews, and other special content for the Chinese consumer."
Feltheimer spoke glowingly of the success Lionsgate was feeling in China: "We had a great last couple of years. Four or five years ago we made no money distributing our content in China. Last year we probably made more than previous five years combined. We released seven movies in China. 'Escape Plan' did better in China than it did in the U.S. So we see a marvelous opportunity to do business."