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Why Alibaba Acquired TicketNew

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3,000 theater partners

Alibaba (BABA) can be seen stepping up its campaign for control of the movie ticketing market. The company recently took up a majority stake in India-based online movie ticketing company TicketNew. It made an undisclosed investment in TicketNew and pledged a further $18.0 million investment in the company.

Alibaba invested in TicketNew through its movie and technology arm, Alibaba Pictures Group. TicketNew boasts ~3,000 theater partners in India, mostly in the country’s south region. Alibaba’s taking of a majority stake in TicketNet came just a few months after it completed its acquisition of Chinese ticketing company Damai.

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Positioning for movie ticketing business

TicketNew will likely complement Damai in Alibaba’s push into the online ticketing space. TicketNew could be particularly vital to Alibaba’s campaign for movie ticketing revenue. According to iResearch, China’s box office sales will hit 85.9 billion Chinese yuan by 2018.

Worldwide, movie ticket sales were $38.6 billion in 2016, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. Global box office sales were $19.8 billion in 2002.

Boost to payment business

With assets such as Damai and TicketNew, Alibaba could benefit in several ways. Besides Alibaba’s taking a cut from any ticket sales made on its platforms, its digital payment operations could also benefit. The company runs a digital payment service called Alipay under its affiliate Ant Financial.

Damai and TicketNew could bolster Alibaba’s payment competition against rivals such as JD.com (JD), PayPal (PYPL), Square (SQ), and Apple (AAPL).

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