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July 16, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Alibaba, which is to China what Amazon is to the U.S. (and much of the rest of the world), has announced that it is teaming up with Lionsgate, the studio responsible for the Hunger Games and Twilight movie franchises, as well as such TV series as Mad Men and Weeds and Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black, to launch a new streaming video service in China next month called Lionsgate Entertainment World. The announcement came as Alibaba prepares to launch an initial public offering on the NYSE next month to raise about $15-20 billion, potentially the biggest IPO ever. Its deal with Lionsgate would push it more deeply into the entertainment business, where it already has acquired large stakes in the Chinese video site Youku Tudou and ChinaVision. In a joint statement, Patrick Liu, president of Alibaba Group’s digital entertainment business unit, said: "This co-operation signals our ongoing commitment to advance our vision of making digital media entertainment available to our customers anywhere, anytime." Jim Packer, who heads Lionsgate’s digital division, said that Alibaba’s "knowledge in the market combined with Lions Gate’s leading position in content, is expected to give the subscription-based services a strong competitive advantage."