Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's picture arm purchased one of the largest ticketing service providers in China, in the latest move to bolster its entertainment business amid the country's movie boom.
Hong Kong-listed Alibaba Picture Group Ltd announced on Tuesday night it would acquire Guangdong Yueke Software Engineering Ltd for 830 million yuan ($134 million).
The company said the deal will make Yueke its wholly-owned subsidiary. As an important player in China's film market, Yueke deals in ticket-selling systems and helps link online ticketing platforms to cinemas' seat-booking systems.
According to Yueke's official website, its business covers 1500 movie theaters, about one third of all cinemas in China. It is also a partner of over 30 popular online ticketing sites.
Alibaba Pictures was created when Alibaba Group bought a 60% stake in the Chinese movie studio China-Vision Media Group and changed its name. In April, it received a capital injection of online film ticketing and movie financing business from Alibaba.
The intensified push by Internet enterprises to lure film buffs comes as China became the world's second-largest cinema market last year, second only to North America.
Figures from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television show the total box office in China reached 29.6 billion yuan ($4.8 billion) in 2014.