Tencent-backed movie-ticketing platform Maoyan Entertainment appointed China Literature CEO Cheng Wu a non-executive director Tuesday. In addition to running China’s largest fan fiction-style literature platform, Cheng is also a vice president at Tencent and Tencent Pictures’ CEO.
Why it matters: Cheng’s new role signals further integration of Tencent’s entertainment holdings, and a continued effort to yoke internet literature to the TV and movie cart.
- Tencent is building a digital empire that covers every facet of entertainment: online literature, video, music streaming, movie and TV production, and gaming.
- “Internet literature”—similar in tone to fan fiction, but often based on history or original characters rather than existing IP—is a major source of stories and characters for television, making it strategically important across mediums.
- Appointing executives to two entertainment-related companies within a short period of time marks a turn in Tencent’s hands-off investment style, underlining the company’s commitment to the pan-entertainment market.
Details: Cheng’s new role comes shortly after he took the reins of China Literature, China’s top online publisher, in April 2020.
- In addition to his other roles, Cheng is the vice-chairman and executive director of Huayi Tencent Entertainment Company, a Hong Kong-listed joint venture between Tencent and the entertainment company Huayi Brothers.
- Liu Lin, another Tencent executive and former senior vice president of Maoyan parent Meituan Dianping, was also named to Maoyan’s board as independent non-executive director.
Context: Maoyan, a ticketing platform that spun off from Meituan in 2015, is expanding into the broader entertainment industry as China’s box office revenue is experiencing a downturn. Meanwhile, China Literature is shifting toward licensing deals for tv and movies, a shift that has alienated some authors and fans.
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- Maoyan and Tencent Video reached a partnership in 2019 to integrate their ecosystems by converging traffic, promoting a joint membership program, and sharing data.
- China Literature’s original business model focused on charging readers for access to self-published fiction, but as licensing deals became profitable it has shifted focus.
- Cheng’s appointment also saw the final exit of China Literature’s founding management.
- Meanwhile, Alibaba is building a rival pan-entertainment giant with a set of services ranging from online reading app Shuqi, to video streaming Youku, to music streaming unit Xiami.