Alibaba has set its sights firmly on building a business beyond e-commerce having purchased the Chinese version of YouTube, Youku Tudou, for an estimated $4.8bn (£3.2bn).
The online retail giant already owned a minor stake in the company, but the deal – confirmed yesterday (6 November) will give Alibaba full control of the video service.
Alibaba’s exact plans on the back of the deal have not yet been detailed, but the company’s leader Jack Ma said that he wanted to make Youku Tudou China's leading digital entertainment platform.
"We are confident that we will strengthen our market position and further accelerate our growth through the integration of our advertising and consumer businesses with Alibaba's platform and Alipay services," explained Youku Tudou chief executive Victor Koo in a joint statement with Alibaba.
It’s not the first media company Alibaba has taken interest in. Last year it bought a controlling stake in ChinaVision Media Group Ltd for $804m, rebranding it shortly after as Alibaba Pictures. The same year, it also shelled out $1bn on a 20 per cent stake in Wasu Media.
Meanwhile this year it has invested $383m in TV program producer Beijing Enlight Media Co.