Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba is making another bet in India. After acquiring a majority stake in digital payments company Paytm, it has now acquired a majority stake in Chennai-based online movie ticketing website TicketNew, which claims to have a presence in over 30 cities across India, according to a PTI report.
Alibaba seems to be expanding its presence in the entertainment business. In 2015, Alibaba Pictures acquired movie ticketing software company Yueke. And last year, it acquired Chinese video-streaming website Youku Tudou for US$4 billion.
TicketNew is its first major acquisition outside China.
â€śAlibaba plans to invest to the tune of US$18.6 million over a period of time,â€ť says Ramkumar Nammalvar, founder and CEO of TicketNew.
This acquisition gives TicketNew fresh ammunition to fight rivals like BookmyShow and even Paytm, which operates in the movie ticketing business.
According to a report in the Hindu Business Line, TicketNew has around 3000 networks in its network across India and has an average ticket booking history of one lakh per day. With Alibaba coming on board, it hopes to increase its booking history to three lakh in the next eight months.
Ramkumar added that there is hardl any player in the ticketing space that can cater to a wider population and while TicketNew has a strong base in South India, it hopes to expand its network beyond that. TicketNew is especially popular in tier 2 and tier 3 cities in the South.
With Rs 120 crore from Alibaba, it now hopes to gain the required financial and technological resources to reach a wider audience.
Alibabaâ€™s bet on Indian cinema could also be stemming from the fact that Indian films have been ding exceptionally well in China. Most recently, Dangal garnered over Rs 1,800 crore in China. And the biggest hit in Indian Cinema Baahubali is also expected to release there next month.