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Alibaba founder and chairman Jack Ma has hit the silver screen, starring in a new film released by Alibaba Pictures, the e-commerce giant’s film studio division.

The film, Gong Shou Dao (GSD), is a tribute to Chinese martial arts and was created by Ma and acclaimed actor and martial artist Jet Li. 

The film stars Ma alongside eleven martial arts masters and actors Donnie Yen, Wu Jing, Tony Jaa, Sammo Hung Kang-bo, and Natasha Liu Bordizzo.

The storyline follows Ma as he confronts martial arts masters from around the world and tests each of the eight disciplines including Tai Chi (Taiji), Tae Kwon Do, Wing Chun, Sumo, Boxing, Free Combat, Snap Kick and Muay Thai, through dramatic fight sequences.

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The film was first released in China in a bid to revitalise the nation’s passion for martial arts. According to Alibaba, the film received 170 million views online prompting Alibaba Pictures to release it globally for Chinese New Year.

Alibaba Pictures president Wei Zhang, said: “GSD is a celebration of Chinese culture, martial arts and all that they represent. We’re proud to be launching this film across the world, especially on the most important day in the Chinese calendar. Our main ambition for this film is to promote Taiji and other martial arts not only to celebrate their rich histories, but also to highlight Taiji’s emphasis on harmony and balance.”  

The move comes as Alibaba ramps up its entertainment and content offering following a flurry of recent deals and acquisitions.