Continuing its diversification beyond e-commerce, Alibaba Group (BABA) is forming a new entertainment business group that will focus on creating content, selling tickets and launching live events such as concerts.

The new unit will be housed under the Chinese company’s Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group, bringing its entertainment ticketing platform Damai and its MaiLive and Maizuo content creation and technology units under one roof. MaiLive and Maizuo will support the new group’s content partners and tap Alibaba’s data to create offline events, reported technode. MaiLive largely provides support to new entertainers and is in charge of preparations for concerts. Damai chief executive Zhang Yu will head up the unit as its CEO.

Damai, in which Alibaba acquired a majority stake in March for an undisclosed sum, is China’s largest ticketing platform hawking tickets for concerts, plays and sports events. Meanwhile, Maizuo melds Damai’s concert preparation expertise with Alibaba’s technology to create so-called smart venues for live events. Alibaba first invested in Damai in 2014. In announcing the deal back in March, the company said "Damai.cn will be a powerful platform to distribute our media content as well as expand our user reach and engagement." (See also: Alibaba Gets Full Control of Ticketing Co. Damai.)

Selling in the Real World

The move on the part of China’s leading e-commerce player comes at a time when it and its rivals are looking to diversify beyond their core markets. With ambitious plans to become the world’s fifth-largest economy, Alibaba has set its sights in all sorts of markets. (See also: Alibaba Aims to Become World's Fifth Largest Economy by 2036.)

It also meshes with its offline-online strategy where it's aiming to bring the convenience of the internet to the physical world. The new business unit also comes just a few days after Alibaba and rival Tencent (TCEHY) inked a music-licensing deal in a rare bit of collaboration between. In a joint announcement reported by The South China Morning Post, the companies said Tencent Music and Entertainment Group will license music from Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music to Alibaba. In return, the Chinese e-commerce giant’s Ali Music Group will license exclusive content it acquired from Rock Record to Tencent, operator of the WeChat messaging app. The report noted that even though Tencent’s streaming music apps are the leaders in the country, the deal appears to be on an equal footing. It also comes as a bit of an about face. In 2015, WeChat banned Xiami, the music streaming service owned by Alibaba, from the platform. That prompted users to share music directly instead of over WeChat. The ban was later rescinded after it cause a lot of problems between the two rivals, reported the Post.


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