Pedestrians pass an AMC movie theater in Times Square in New York City.
Pedestrians pass an AMC movie theater in Times Square in New York City. - 
Listen To The Story

David Brancaccio: A cash lifeline for the Internet company Yahoo: it's selling half its stake in Alibaba, China's biggest online commerce company. Alibaba's Chinese founder is buying it back for more than $7 billion.

There is also some Chinese ownership coming to a theater near you. America's second-largest movie theater chain AMC, now based in Missouri, is getting purchased by one of China's biggest real estate development and movie theater companies.

Marketplace China bureau chief Rob Schmitz reports.

Rob Schmitz: The Dalian Wanda group bought AMC for $2.6 billion. Wanda runs 86 movie theaters in China; AMC runs 346 in the U.S.

James McGregor, author of ‘One Billion Consumers,’ says in pure real estate developer fashion, this deal for Wanda is all about expansion.

James McGregor: These guys have money and they probably have vision. They’re going to go to America and learn how to do it and get best practices and make good money along the way.

Chinese box office sales last year were around two billion, making it the third-biggest market after the U.S. and Japan. And from the looks of it, there’s nowhere to go but up. That’s because going to the movies in China is an upscale affair -- customers typically buy reserved seats in luxurious theaters, and they’re not cheap. A ticket to see the 3D epic "Avatar" in China, for example, cost three times what it cost in the U.S.

In Shanghai, I’m Rob Schmitz, for Marketplace.

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.

Follow Rob Schmitz at @rob_schmitz