Alibaba is looking to acquire an undisclosed Indian online movie-booking site to improve its positioning in the country’s retail entertainment market.
The company’s mobile business president He Xiaopeng said that the potential acquisition target could be sites similar to BookMyShow, however he did not specify if the company was in talks with any for a deal, the Economic Times reports.
He added that Alibaba already has momentum in the sector following its investment in the digital payment mobile application Paytm.
According to the executive, Alibaba considers India a key market that is growing in terms of mobile phone and internet use, amid a slowdown in global markets. He added that the group is creating a strategic team to explore more investment opportunities in India.
“The investment falls under Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group’s targeted investment of $7.2bn in content over the next three years,” said He.
In January, it was reported that Alibaba Pictures, the movie and TV content business controlled by the Chinese e-commerce giant, is on the verge of buying a 70-75 per cent stake in Chennai-based Orbgen Technologies, which operates TicketNew, for approximately $35m (€33m/£29m), according to Live Mint, an Indian business news site.
TicketNew is a technology-led entertainment services provider, integrating movie theatres, film distributors, production houses, events and sports with consumers. Its customer base comprises ticket brokers, venue managers, affiliate marketers, ticket retail customers, sports professionals, concert and event promoters, and software vendors, among others.
Alibaba Pictures recently posted a $140m loss in 2016 after incurring significant marketing costs in relation to its mobile ticketing app, Tao Piao Piao.
More than 70 per cent of all movie tickets are sold online in China, compared to an estimated 20 per cent in the US. Analysts blamed the downturn at China’s box office last year on price distortions caused by the high volume of sales through mobile ticket platforms.