Chinese entertainment firm Dalian Wanda (owner of the AMC cinema chain) is reportedly set to make a massive move into ecommerce via a partnership with Tencent and Baidu.
The deal will let users of Tencent’s WeChat or its QQ messaging service and Baidu’s maps will find easier access to Wanda’s shopping malls, hotels and movie theatres.
Significantly, the tie-up is also expected to help customers use their mobile apps to pay for physical goods.
Reuters reports that initial investment in the venture is reported to be in the order of RMB5 billion ($810 million). Tencent and Baidu are to each own 15%, with Wanda controlling the 70% majority.
Wanda is China’s largest privately-owned cinema group and this month opened its 100th IMAX-equipped complex. It recently announced plans to construct up to 200 small theme parks around the country.
Baidu, often compared with Google and with a market capitalization of $76 billion, is also the controlling shareholder in iQiyi, one of China’s top three online video groups.
The alliance of the three giant companies also creates a formidable potential competitor for Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant that is rapidly expanding into film production, Internet TV and online video.
Alibaba is currently readying an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange that could value it at $150 billion.