"Little Door Gods." (Image: Light Chaser Animation.)
“Little Door Gods.” (Image: Light Chaser Animation.)

In yet another sign that China is fortifying its cartoon credibility, Alibaba Group subsidiary Alibaba Pictures announced co-financing and distribution of Light Chaser Animation’s Little Door Gods. The film’s concept trailer can be seen below:

Funding won’t be a problem for Alibaba’s first animated feature release, given that last year the Chinese e-commerce giant completed the largest IPO in history, raising $25 billion. Indeed, Little Door Gods producer Yu Zhou mentioned Alibaba’s influence on Internet and e-commerce ecosystems as “a key resource” for the project, according to Beijing-based Light Chaser’s Tuesday announcement of the deal.

“We appreciate Alibaba’s confidence and commitment towards Little Door Gods, and we will work together to bring our work to the Chinese and world audience,” said Yu.

Formerly known as Chinavision Media, before Ma’s Alibaba Group bought a majority stake last year, Alibaba Pictures is quickly ramping up. Earlier this year, it announced an investment in Mission Impossible — Rogue Nation, currently outperforming expectations at the American box office. Alibaba Pictures is also distributing Jean-Jacques Annaud’s Wolf Totem, as well as financing and distributing director Zhang Jiajia’s The Ferryman, which is being produced by the visionary Wong Kar-wai. With a market value reportedly hovering over $8 billion at last count, it is reportedly one of the largest Chinese film companies by worth.

That cultural and economic firepower will come in quite handy on Little Door Gods, which wrapped in August and arrives in Chinese theaters on January 1, 2016. As Cartoon Brew reported, the self-described goal of Little Door Gods’ modern comedy about two protective spirits facing unemployment, thanks to changing times and beliefs, is to become a “world-class animated film with a Chinese cultural touch.”

With Alibaba now on board, achieving that goal should be easier.

Little Door Gods is a top-quality film, and we are delighted to have the opportunity to work with Light Chaser on this project and leverage our strengths in promotion and distribution,” said an Alibaba Pictures spokesperson. “This project is very much in line with our strategic goal of servicing the cultural industry and upgrading its overall competitiveness.”

No U.S. release has been set for Little Door Gods as of this writing, but we’ll let you know if that changes.

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