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Zhang Wei spent much of her early career helping US media giants such as Newscorp and CNBC establish operations in China. Now the table has been turned.
As president of Alibaba Pictures and in charge of international operations and business development, Zhang is responsible for producing, coproducing, and acquiring movies for the company.
Under her watch, Alibaba has been a major investor in a number of Hollywood releases, including "Star Trek Beyond," "Green Book," and "1917."
Alibaba’s selling point to the Hollywood studios goes well beyond financing. It’s understanding of China’s $9 billion cinemagoing market is a huge selling point. Alibaba is able to use its vast ecosystem to market and sell its productions in the country and ensure a deeply integrated offering.
This ranges from its extensive consumer touchpoints, which can be mined to predict audience tastes and behaviour, to its online platforms such as Taobao Live, which broadcasts to 800 million active users, and video-streaming platform Youku. Alibaba also owns online ticketing service Taopiaopiao, which covers almost 100% of Chinese cinemas.