Alibaba takes another step into India, acquires movie ticketing company
Chinese giant Alibaba has taken another step into India with the acquisition of majority stake in online movie ticketing site TicketNew, reports news agency PTI. The Chennai-based company enables the booking of movie theater tickets in over 300 cities across India.
TicketNew is Alibaba’s first major acquisition in the ticketing space outside of China.
Alibaba made a big push in the entertainment business last year with the acquisition of Chinese video streaming site Youku Tudou for US$4 billion. A year earlier, Alibaba Pictures acquired movie ticketing software company Yueke. TicketNew is its first major acquisition in the ticketing space outside of China.
“Alibaba plans to invest to the tune of US$18.6 million over a period of time,” says Ramkumar Nammalvar, founder and CEO of TicketNew, which competes with BookMyShow and other players in this space.
The Indian film industry churns out the highest number of films in the world. These films in multiple languages are the staple of entertainment for hundreds of millions. Two recent hits, Dangal and Baahubali, have grossed over US$125 million each and are going strong. Dangal is a big hit in China, too, and Baahubali will be released there next month.
Alibaba’s foray into movie ticketing in India follows its taking control of the ecommerce arm of Indian payments and ecommerce unicorn Paytm earlier this year. The mother of all ecommerce battles looms large this year in India between Amazon, Alibaba’s Paytm Ecommerce, and Tencent-backed Flipkart.
Amazon has factored India’s craze for local movies into its game plan, with the launch of Amazon Prime at less than US$8 a year, which includes streaming movies and TV shows. It has tied up with several local producers to augment its collection of Indian movies in various languages on Amazon Prime.
Likewise, Alibaba’s movie ticketing service via TicketNew could be an important component in its ecommerce play on Paytm Mall.
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