Chinese conglomerate Alibaba has expanded its presence in the $2.5bn Indian movie ticketing sector after buying a majority stake in platform TicketNew.

Alibaba Pictures, the company’s entertainment arm, has invested almost $19m (£14.5m/€17.0m) on the Chennai-based firm which enables the booking of movie theatre tickets in over 300 cities across India.

TicketNew, which is believed to be India’s second biggest movie ticketing platform after BookMyShow, will remain a separate entity.

Alibaba’s foray into movie ticketing in India comes after it took control of the ecommerce arm of Indian payments group Paytm earlier this year.

“Given Alibaba Pictures’ operational know-how and financial resources, the partnership can potentially help strengthen the leadership and market share of TicketNew in the ecommerce ticketing space and enable the company to capitalise on the burgeoning consumer market in India,’’ TicketNew said in a statement.

“Alibaba plans to invest to the tune of $18.65 Mn (NR 120 Cr) over a period of time. We are delighted to work with Alibaba Pictures. This secures the future of our staff and the company for generations to come.”

Alibaba’s interest in TicketNew was reported by The Ticketing Business in March.

TicketNew’s flagship product, Box Office, is an enterprise resource planning platform that helps cinemas optimise operations.

The company also offers mobile apps and customised web solutions to theatres. It charges a convenience fee from end-users while booking tickets, in addition to a small fee from theatre-owners for software installation and app development.

The company was founded in 2007 by Ramkumar Nammalvar, a computer science engineer with over 20 years of operational and sales experience, V Sasi Raman and Ravishankar Ramanujalu.

Ramkumar added: “The movie-ticketing market in India is slated to be in the vicinity of $2.2-$2.5bn and that out of this, online ticketing constituted only 10-15%. With this funding, we are hopeful that TicketNew will emerge as a good competitor in the space which is largely dominated by BookMyShow.”

Image: Mohd Obaid Ahmed