Alibaba Pictures targets China’s live events market with Damai acquisition

Photo by Tony Pham on Unsplash

Alibaba Pictures is targeting domination of China’s entertainment market after agreeing to acquire Damai in a $167m deal.

Damai, owned by Pony Media Holdings, is a live entertainment group which has been controlled by the Alibaba parent company since 2017. It offers production, promotion and ticketing services and has more than 100 million registered customers. A leading provider of live performances, including concerts, festivals and sports events, it has served over 1.8 million events.

While Hong Kong-listed AP has previously been focused on China’s huge cinema market, president Li Jie said the diversification into live events represents “a new chapter”.

According to a statement published by AP, the net asset value of Pony Media is RMB 723m ($99m).

While it has been loss-making for the last three years since the pandemic outbreak, AP said it has recently witnessed material recovery in business. For the three months ended June 30, 2023, the group recorded gross merchandise volume (GMV) of over RMB 4bn, surpassing the GMV in financial year ended March 31, 2023 of approximately RMB 3bn. Its revenue for 2023 was stated as RMB 227.6m, with a net loss of RMB 229.2m.

In a statement, AP said: “Upon the acquisition, together with the target company, the group will be positioned as the flagship offline entertainment platform of the Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group.

“By further expanding the upstream presence of Damai brand in live entertainment industry value chain, such as events production and promotion, venue operation and artist management, the company aims to strengthen scale advantages and barriers to entry, and further build brand awareness for its offline entertainment business.”