Meet Wang Jianlin, the richest person in China

Wang jianlinReuters/Tyrone SiuWang Jianlin

Wang Jianlin, a former People’s Liberation Army soldier who is now a real estate mogul and the world’s largest cinema chain operator, is the richest person in China.

With a fortune of $US40.7 billion, he’s caught in a riches race with Hong Kong business magnate Li-Ka Shing to become the wealthiest man in Asia.

From the construction of luxury hotel properties to the purchase of a world-famous football club to his grand plans for the future of entertainment, scroll through to get up to speed on Jianlin’s global empire.

From 1970 to 1986 Wang served in the Chinese Army. He credits this time for his unwavering perseverance: 'Without those years of experience, I probably wouldn't have had so much anti-stress capability and so firm a determination.'

Chinese People's Liberation Army soldiers in Beijing.

Source: Brics Business Magazine

Wang borrowed $80,000 to get his company Dalian Wanda Group off the ground. He's been chairman of Wanda Group, now China's largest real estate developer, since 1988.

Wanda Hotels and Resorts Co Ltd has opened 71 five star and luxury five star hotels across China to date. Wang has billion dollar investments in properties in Sydney, London, Chicago and Los Angeles. He's on his way to becoming the world's biggest owner of five-star hotels.

Wanda Group purchased the Jewel project on Australia's Gold Coast last August. The luxury residence and resort complex is expected to open in 2018.

Source: The Economist

Wanda Group is currently building One Nine Elms, a luxury riverside hotel and apartment building in London that will rise 60 stories and boast views of the London Eye and Westminster Abbey.

An artist's rendering of the future site of One Nine Elms.

Another division of Wanda Group, The Wanda Culture Industry Group, is China's largest cultural enterprise with an annual revenue of $5.5 billion. It operates in ten arenas including theme parks, performing arts, and film technology entertainment.

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio waves to fans at the opening of Wanda Group's Oriental Movie Metropolis in September 2013.

Source: Wanda Group

Wanda Plaza, Wang's trademark property, has over 100 locations in all of China's major cities, making it the country's largest department store chain.

Patrons celebrate the opening of Yingkou Wanda Plaza June 25, 2015.

Not only does Wanda Group own 150 movie theatres in China, but it owns another 380 locations across the US, Canada, Japan, and other countries. Wang bought the US's struggling AMC Entertainment franchise for $2.6 billion in 2012.

Source: Bloomberg

'Superstar,' China's largest 'wholesome' karaoke chain is operated by Wanda Group. It currently has 90 locations and expects to open another 40 by the end of the year.

A karaoke bar in Wuhan, China.

Source: Wanda Group

Earlier this year, Wang bought a 20% stake (at $52 million) in Spanish football club Atletico Madrid.

Wang poses with the team's managing director and president after a signing ceremony in Beijing.

Source: WSJ

Wang has only one son: 27-year-old Wang Sicong, who's been nicknamed 'The National Husband' by Chinese media. He's made a few outspoken remarks that his father later defended, blaming his son's 'western education.' Sicong is a board member of Wanda Group and chairman of the private investment firm Prometheus Capital.

Wang allows his son a 2% stake in Wanda Group.

However, many people in China have criticised Wang Sicong for being too obsessed with money, sex, and violence. He certainly flaunts his wealth: Wang Sicong recently posted a photo of his dog wearing two gold Apple Watches (each valued at $10,000).

Wang purchased Sunseeker Yachts International in 2013 for $503 million. The UK-based luxury yacht maker's boats are exclusively featured in the James Bond film series.

Sunseeker's 155 Yacht.

Source: The Telegraph

Wang owns two Gulfstream 550 private jets (each powered by two Rolls Royce engines) that transport him to and from Wanda Group headquarters in Beijing, China.

G550 jet by Gulfstream aircraft displayed at the Singapore Airshow in February 2014 in Singapore.

In recent years, the billionaire has become a passionate art collector. He purchased Picasso's 'Claude and Paloma' for $28 million in 2013. In May, he won a $20.4 million bid for a Claude Monet painting.

Wang waits in a meeting room at the launch of Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis in September 2013.

Source: Bloomberg

'Many people come knock at my door, but Wanda is only interested in the big players, and we want control,' Wang told Bloomberg News. He's currently in talks to buy a large stake in independent film studios Lionsgate and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Wang celebrates the debut of Dalian Wanda Group at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in December 2014.

Source: Los Angeles Times

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