Saturday, May 25, 2024

Filmart: Alibaba Set to Inject $640M Into Hong Kong Entertainment Industry

Must read

China’s vast Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group (ADME) on Monday announced plans to inject $640 million into Hong Kong’s entertainment industry, with funds to be spread across movies, TV dramas, events and training for the city’s emerging artists.

The “Hong Kong Cultural and Art Industry Revitalization Program” was launched during the first day of Hong Kong’s annual Filmart industry gathering and claims to have hooked Alibaba up with a slew of major local players, including Edko Films, Media Asia Group, One Cool Group, TVB, Shaw Brothers Pictures and Emperor Motion Pictures.

Among the initiatives announced was a plan to fund schooling through Alibaba Pictures for 20 local filmmakers at the Hong Kong Baptist University Academy of Film.

The move was welcomed by the Hong Kong government, which has placed the development of its entertainment industry at the heart of recent promotional and economic policies.

“We eagerly hope that ADME Group will work more closely with the film and TV industry of Hong Kong to develop new modes of cooperation and explore business areas, to nurture new talent, and create rich and diversified content for film and TV, which will bring the development of our film and TV entertainment industry to the next level,” Kevin Yeung, ​Hong Kong’s secretary for culture, sports and tourism, said in a statement.

ADME’s most recent play in the Hong Kong markets was an outstanding success, with the company co-producing last year’s court-room drama A Guilty Conscience, the film by first-time helmer Jack Ng that is now the highest-grossing local film of all time with an estimated $14.7 million (HK$115 million) in box office. The Beijing-based Alibaba Pictures also used Monday’s event to announce it would open a second headquarters in Hong Kong.

Youku and Alibaba Pictures, which both fall under the DME banner, also both announced new projects with Hong Kong partners, including Youku’s investment in a second series of the hit local TV drama The Queen of News.

Plans for the cash injection come as the Hong Kong film industry is still struggling to return to pre-pandemic box office levels — last year’s $183 million total was still 25 percent down on 2019.

Monday’s announcement also came as news broke in the local financial press that Alibaba Pictures Group Limited had shed 17 percent in its share price over the past 90 days, and had witnessed an estimated loss in value of some $153 million (HK$1.2 billion) in the past seven days.

Latest article