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Jack Ma’s buying spree continues, this time adding to his growing portfolio a South Korean talent agency and a high-profile US internet firm.

Ma’s firm Alibaba has entered the Year of the Monkey with a couple of new partners: America’s Groupon and Korea’s SM Entertainment. Last week Alibaba snapped-up a 5.6% share in Groupon, a firm whose stock has tumbled nearly 80% since it went public in 2011, Bloomberg reports. In the days following Alibaba’s investment, the share price of the American discount platform reversed, rising by 80%. There is speculation that Alibaba will eventually place an offer for a majority stake in Groupon, but a spokesperson for the firm claims that Alibaba is simply interested in exchanging market information between China and America.

SM Entertainment announced its deal with Alibaba on February 11. In this case Alibaba bought a 4% stake in the company for Rmb195 million ($30 million).

South Korea’s preeminent musical talent agency, SM Entertainment is the company behind big names in the world of Kpop (Korean pop music) such as Girls Generation, Super Junior and EXO. The partnership with Alibaba will grant it more direct access to the Chinese market through the launch of Alimusic’s online platform – anticipated in April this year – as well Alibaba’s music apps Tiantian and Xiami.

SM Entertainment first tried to grow its profile in China more than 10 years ago, when it partnered with the Chinese record label Taihe Rye Music. Although that partnership eventually distintegrated, the founder of Taihe Rye is now Alimusic’s chief executive – evidence, perhaps, that old commercial friendships endure longer than the careers of teen crooners.


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