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Alibaba’s Jack Ma: 'The West is better at telling stories'

By Tian Shi (People's Daily Online)    16:51, October 10, 2016
Alibaba’s Jack Ma: 'The West is better at telling stories'
(Photo provided to People's Daily Online)

Jack Ma, founder and CEO of Alibaba Group, praised legendary director Steven Spielberg’s storytelling abilities at a signing ceremony in Beijing, describing how Spielberg’s style resonates with Chinese audiences. The signing ceremony was for a movie deal between Alibaba and Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment, aiming to jointly develop the world’s top two movie markets.

In an informal talk onstage, Ma said, “I don’t see any human value difference between West and East. The only difference is that the West is better at telling stories.” Ma added that Alibaba Pictures hopes to learn from Spielberg and Amblin.

Spielberg, meanwhile, said he hoped the partnership would "bring more of America to China, and bring more of China to America."

Amblin Entertainment and Alibaba Pictures, the film arm of the Chinese e-commerce giant, announced plans to co-produce, finance and distribute films for Chinese and global audiences. Alibaba will hold a minority stake in Amblin and take a seat on its board of directors, while Spielberg’s production company will gain greater access to the world’s second largest box office.

Many believe Ma is following the lead of Wang Jianlin, chairman of Wanda Group, who has partnered with Sony Pictures and purchased AMC and Legendary Entertainment. However, Zhang Wei, president of Alibaba Pictures, believes her company has a totally different approach.

“In the past, there was a great deal of capital pouring into Hollywood in an attempt to get a share of the U.S. film market. But now, the time is different – we have a very large and healthy local market here. We’re bringing Hollywood the opportunity to get a share of ours.” 


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